YORK – A work session will be held this week, on Thursday, during which the city council, department heads and administration will discuss the details of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
This is the last scheduled work session in the process, as there have already been five held. The process started much earlier this year, as Mayor Barry Redfern said he wanted the discussion to be as in-depth as possible and for all the council members to have an opportunity to ask questions, get information and express opinions, in order to make informed decisions.
The council is expected to then set a public hearing on the proposed budget at 5 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 29.
It is being proposed that the city’s tax levy be increased from .27 per $100 of valuation to .33 per $100 of valuation. It was initially proposed it be increased by 5 cents instead of 6, but the additional 1 cent was added in order to keep up with public safety needs (through purchasing two new police cruisers as the regular rotation of response vehicles was cut entirely out of the last budget).
With that tax levy increase – and detailed consideration regarding expenses – the proposed budget is currently balanced.
Even with the .06 increase in the city’s tax levy, the city still remains far under the .45 maximum allowed by state law.
In an earlier meeting regarding the budget, the mayor said the city does have reserves – so the increase is to not build reserves but rather to fund necessary expenses and have a balanced budget at the same time.
The spending in this year’s proposed budget is very lean – there are few capital expenditures included. A good number of the capital expenditures that are included are only there as preparation in the event that grants are awarded toward those specific projects. In other words, if the grants aren’t awarded, the projects won’t take place.
It is also being proposed that a 3 percent increase in water rates be established for the next fiscal year. The administration earlier told the council, “After analyzing the increase in debt service payments next year for the water department, we believe a 3 percent rate increase is needed. This same increase is included in the rate study projections for the next several years.”
The discussion regarding the budget will be held at the end of the regular Thursday night meeting.