Imker: PTC budget for FY ’13 is looking good
I’ve done an initial scan of the city manager’s proposed budget to see how we stand. Things are pretty much on track from our planning of two years ago. There have been some unanticipated things pop up but experienced managers know those are bound to happen and deal with them.
Of interest is the quote in the city manager’s proposal, “The FY 2013 budget process represents the fifth consecutive fiscal year that the city has attempted to adjust to the impacts of severe economic downturn.”
Two and a half years ago a new council came into office realizing continuing the status quo was unacceptable. We walked into a $21 million shortfall for the following five fiscal years.
The usual politico of spending taxpayers’ money had to change. We were not afforded the luxury of continuing the “want to haves.”
Years and years of avoiding the infrastructure issue finally caught up with us. Decisive, confident decision-making was required. We made a decision to stop the deterioration and start rebuilding our infrastructure.
You’re starting to see the first steps to that recovery. It will take time. It took years to get this way, it will take years to bring it back.
We will find a way to eliminate the small proposed 0.3 M&O mill rate increase [in] FY2013. This represents about $516,000. Surely we can find that amount to reduce – again, out of a $28.9 million budget. There are many details to review before any suggestions can be made.
I want to tell everyone up front, the current proposed budget includes using about $840,000 of city reserves in FY2013. Before some of you start questioning this, I want to remind all our citizens, two years ago the mill rate was raised as part of the long-term recovery plan. It included increasing city reserves the first two years of that long-term plan.
We did. The reserves are currently at $10.5 million. This is $5 million above our policy of 20 percent reserves. This was done on purpose in order to level out the future few years of budgeting so we could wind up with a long-term financially sustainable budget. We’re on that path.
If you have suggestions to offer, please, let’s hear them. We’ll ask staff if your suggestion is already included in the budget proposal. Tell us specifically how you’d implement your suggestions. Be up front with us and tell us the consequences, good and/or bad of your suggestions.
Eric Imker, councilman
Peachtree City, Ga.