After months of budget work sessions, including a detailed look at salary and benefit compensation, the city of Manchester approved its Fiscal Year 2018 budget at the regular Board of Aldermen meeting on Dec. 18.
The $20.1 million 2018 budget is 3.6 percent lower on the revenue side and 11.3 percent lower on the expenditure side compared to the 2017 budget. The reduction on the expenditure side is due in part to reduced park and stormwater expenses associated with the construction of the new parks building, which is now complete.
Another significant factor is the change in curbside waste and recycling pickup for city residents. Beginning in February, residents will pay $6 per month for the weekly trash, recycling and yard waste pickup. It currently costs the city $17.21 per household per month for this service, for a total annual cost of $1.3 million. Having residents pay a portion of this cost results in a savings of $400,000. City Administrator Larry Perney explained that, in subsequent years, the city will evaluate and determine the amount to subsidize until the city no longer subsidizes curbside household waste collection. The final vote on the curbside fee to residents was passed at the Dec. 18 meeting by a margin of 5-1, with Alderman Marilyn Ottenad [Ward 2] opposing the measure.
The projected lower revenue stream is tied heavily to retail sales tax [54.9 percent of general fund revenues] and gross receipt utility taxes [18.2 percent of general fund revenues].
These declines in revenue sources are driven, in part, by weather’s impact on electric, natural gas and water usage and a continuing decline in the gross receipts tax from telephones as residents migrate from traditional land lines to cell phones. Phone providers continue to modify their billing strategies to reduce traditional phone costs and increase data plans which are not subject to the tax.
One of the major impacts to the budget is the increase of 16.7 percent in total salaries which translates into an increase of $664,071 over four years starting in FY2017. Offsetting those costs is revenue from Prop P, the countywide public safety tax approved by voters in April 2017. Manchester is projected to receive $900,000 annually; however, the city is conservatively budgeting $600,000 for FY2018. These revenues will help offset the cost of providing high-quality police services including required manpower, equipment, technology, training, and maintenance and operating expenses, as well as higher pay grades.
Some major capital projects for FY2018 include:
- $680,000 for Spring Meadows bridge replacement
- $50,000 for design and engineering for Howard George Drive Bridge Deck rehabilitation
- $125,000 for City Hall exterior balcony improvement project.
- $600,000 for concrete slab street replacement
- $150,000 for asphalt street overlays
- $80,000 Dougherty Ferry Road reconstruction
- $30,000 for Route 141 & Manchester Road Island [four] landscaping
- $40,000 for concrete sidewalk replacement
- $25,000 for curb ramp replacement
- Major park and stormwater projects planned for 2018 include:
- $75,000 for Chadwick Stormwater Project
- $60,000 for Channel B Watershed Project
- $200,000 for Channel F Improvement Project
- $350,000 for Channel J Improvement Project
- $40,000 for storm inlet repair and reconstruction
- $10,000 for Pontoison Drive Storm Sewer Improvement
- $30,000 for Baxter Park improvements
- $144,500 for Crack Repair and Painting/Sandblasting at Aquatic Center Pool[s], painting pole standards for slide structures, and replacing pump/motor
- $3,600 for new lounge chairs for the pool[s]
- $6,500 for a new ventless deep fryer in the pool snack shop
- $15,000 for a commercial freezer
For a complete look at Manchester’s FY2018 budget, visit www.manchestermo.gov.