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Budget submitted to council

With goals of improving neighborhoods, providing more funding for capital maintenance, increasing youth programs and strengthening crime prevention, City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen today submitted the proposed 2007-2008 fiscal year budget to the City Council.

The $1.2 billion proposed budget is an increase of 9.8 percent over the adopted fiscal year 2006-2007 budget.

The budget reflects council priorities and a robust local economy, with projected strong growth in earnings tax collections, property and sales tax revenues, $1.2 billion in estimated construction permitting activity, and a 6.6 percent overall growth in General Fund supported revenues.

“With the strong local economy, the City’s financial position now allows us to continue expanding upon our aggressive efforts to improve basic services, capital maintenance and neighborhood livability issues,” Cauthen said.

The budget provides for continued focus on neighborhood services, including:
-- Hiring 20 new police officers to reduce police response times.
-- Hiring six additional animal control officers, bringing the total to 32 officers, to
meet neighborhood needs.
-- Hiring 20 new code enforcement officers for property code enforcement.
-- Allocating $1 million in funding for building demolitions.
-- Doubling of funding for the Nuisance Abatement and Clearance program.
-- Hiring seven additional customer service employees at the 311 Call Center.
-- Providing additional funding for the City’s six Community Action Network Centers.

Additional capital maintenance funding in the proposed budget includes allocating a total of $54 million for capital maintenance, and focusing not only on funding but also on project delivery.

The additional funding for capital maintenance will provide the following:
-- More than 250 lane miles of street resurfacing.
-- Upgrading additional playgrounds in various parks throughout the City.
-- Planting more than 2,000 new trees along City streets.
-- Trimming more than 21,000 trees along City streets.
-- Improving building/roof maintenance for Municipal Court, City Hall, and the
Municipal Service Center.

Proposed funding for additional outreach to the city’s youth includes:
-- Leveraging $250,000 in City funds to create 1,500 summer jobs for city youth.
-- Continuing Project Prepare to create jobs in the construction sector.
-- Providing funding for up to 500 city high school students to takes the ACT/SAT
preparation tests.
-- Reusing City surplus computers to provide more computer labs at City community

Proposed funding for additional crime prevention efforts includes:
-- $300,000 to begin a mental health outreach program for the city’s homeless.
-- $300,000 to expand the City’s dispute resolution and mediation efforts.
-- $100,000 to start implementation of the recommendations of the Safe City initiative.
-- Funding of a Police Mounted Patrol program for downtown and other areas of the
city where crowds routinely gather.

The proposed budget also supports the following efforts:
-- Providing market-based salaries for City staff.
-- Continue restoring adequate funding for most City operations.
-- Developing a Solid Waste Strategic Plan to address long-term waste disposal needs
in the City.
-- Continuing efforts to build the fund balance.

“This proposed budget continues the process begun during fiscal year 2004-2005 to re-structure and right size the City’s operations,” Cauthen said. “Through the hard work and resilience of the mayor and City Council to put our fiscal house in order, the City can now begin the work of reinvesting its growing resources back into the community and can reap the benefits of a strong local economy. While living within our available resources, I believe this budget moves the City forward greatly in meeting citizens’ needs.”

The budget adoption process includes the following:
-- Budget submittal to City Council – Feb. 8
-- Departmental director hearings – Month of February
-- Public Hearing – Feb. 28, 7 p.m., City Hall Council Chambers
-- Introduction of the Budget Ordinance – March 1
-- Finance Committee consideration – March 7, 14, 21
-- City Council Business Session on the budget – March 14, 22
-- City Council adoption – March 22.

The proposed budget is available online at

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