Huntsville remains financially stable in challenging economic conditions
(Huntsville, AL) Mayor Tommy Battle is pleased to present a balanced budget for FY 2012 beginning Oct. 1. The budget includes $228.6 million in the General Fund operating budget and $63.2 million in the Capital Improvements budget.
The Mayor is optimistic about this year's budget even though it remains smaller than the City's budget four years ago. While this year's plan reflects a cautious approach to spending, it begins to replenish fleet and vital services that are necessary to keep the City well managed and positioned for future growth.
"We are stable even though we are nowhere near the levels of revenue and spending the City enjoyed in the years prior to 2008," said Mayor Battle. "Still, we are a municipal success story. We have continued to maintain our pre-recession level of public services, we have not had layoffs, we have tightened our belts, and Standard & Poor's and Moody's has rewarded us with an AAA credit bond rating. I am extremely proud of the level of service and support we continue to provide."
The City will maintain its focus on basic services, and its departments have learned to live on less. Employees will receive merit raises, though they will not receive a cost-of-living raise (COLA). While city employees have not had a COLA in three years, no one in the City has lost his or her job in the economic downturn. Further, we will not ask employees to pay the 2.25% increase in employee contribution to Retirement Systems Alabama approved by the state. City programs on wellness care and healthy lifestyles will also reduce the cost of health insurance for employees next year.
The 2012 budget reflects Mayor Battle's commitment to restructure the Urban Planning Department. The changes will strengthen planning operations and better position the City as a proactive partner in growth and development.
On the capital side of the budget, the Mayor is emphasizing infrastructure by increasing the amount of money spent on roads, and he is proposing to spend $5 million to replace aging fleet and sanitation equipment.
"As you are aware, we are seeing the effects of three years of no spending on a lot of needs and this is the year to get back on track," said Mayor Battle. "The Sanitation Department has reported 19 of the 54 boom trucks can be out of service on any given day. We have reached a point of inefficiencies. We are committed to maintaining a clean and attractive city, and it is time to make the push to replenish our aging fleet."
Investing back into the City includes renewed funding for workforce training, professional development, and more uniforms for police, fire and public service employees. Toward City agencies, the budget partially restores last year's funding cuts to the Huntsville Museum of Art, EarlyWorks Museums and the Burritt Museum.
"The citizens of Huntsville deserve a well-managed government," said Mayor Battle. "To me, that means a balanced budget and a solid level of city services. It does not mean that we take our eye off the future. We owe it to our taxpayers to think progressively and creatively, to be prepared for growth, even as we remain committed to spending resources wisely."
FY 2012 BUDGET SUMMARY
General Fund operating budget
Capital Improvements budget is
Total Budget (General Fund and Capital)
| FY 2012
$ 63.2 million
| FY 2011
$220.3 million ($229.2 m in 2008)
Included in the total FY2012 budget
Sales tax growth rate 3% (2% expected in 2011)
Property tax revenue growth 1.2% (1.6% in 2011)
All other revenues - no significant changes
$4.4 million for street resurfacing (up $2.2 million from FY 2011)
$5 million for fleet and sanitation equipment
Increase infrastructure project spending about 1.1 million
Total increase $700,000
Merit raises for city employees (about 79% are not topped out; 62% will get a raise of 3 to 5%)
Employees will not pay 2.25% increase in contributions to RSA
Fulfill Mayor's commitment to restructure Urban Planning Department
Included in the Capital Plan
Increase infrastructure spending about $1.1 million
Increase street resurfacing from $2.2 million in 2011 to $4.4 million in 2012
More than $41.2 million for projects new and under way including funds for Fire Stations 18 and 19 at Greenbrier and Taylor Road/ Green Mountain, Burritt Museum Bluff Building
Upgrade Emergency Services Radio System (2013-2014) -$3.5 million
Nearly $40 million (2012-2014) for major road work
Old Highway 20 Ph1 4,188,000
North Public Safety Precinct (add $) 1,400,000
Martin Road - Redstone Arsenal 15,000,000
Holiday Drive 2,310,000
Greenbrier Road Ph 2 8,950,000
Downtown Gateway Road 7,190,000
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