The first of a series of city budget workshops will be held Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. in the City Hall council chambers. The special meeting of the City Council committee of the whole is one of the first steps in what will likely prove to be a complicated budgeting process.
According to Finance Director Jessica Kinser, Monday’s meeting will focus on three aspects of the city’s budget. Debt service topics will be discussed, as will capital projects and special revenue funds. Other discussions, such as funds with personnel, will be discussed at future workshops to avoid a mental budget overload, according to Kinser.
“If you try to throw everything together at once, then you end up with a lot of questions,” Kinser said. “We’re trying to keep everything as focused as possible.”
Debt service discussions will review the city’s current obligations and the overall debt service levy for the coming fiscal year. Also discussed will be any upcoming obligations for the city, and future projects the city may have to borrow for.
According to Kinser, capital projects discussions will be more complicated. She said that the topic ties closely together with debt services as city money is already obligated to many of the projects being discussed. Additionally, some of the projects that may need to be discussed are part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), that won’t be formally considered by the council for several weeks.
Special revenue fund discussion will be a little “fuzzier,” Kinser said. The hotel/motel tax fund and the SSMID 2 aren’t as definite and are “up in the air,” according to Kinser.
She said the 2013 budget could prove to be challenging, as the city is facing a few unknowns.
An ongoing valuation dispute with Archer Daniels Midland will likely seriously reduce the amount of property tax revenue the city brings in. And the sale of the city’s municipal dock means than an annual deposit of $335,000 in rent fees will not be made to the general fund.
“That’s kind of a big number,” Kinser said.
Additionally, statewide legislative discussions could impact local budgets, not only for the coming fiscal year, but for years to come. Property tax reform is likely an inevitability, one that could potentially cripple local governments that depend on the revenue.