2017-18 Budget Highlights
By Liz Oliphant
(Public hearings on the budget are scheduled for Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 at 6 pm at Town Hall)
Tax Rate – the City Manager’s proposed budget calls for reducing the Town’s tax rate from $0.560472 by just over one penny to $0.550000. The taxable value on the average single-family home in Addison is $299,911. Because of the increase in property values, the average homeowner’s tax bill from Addison would go up $40.77, less than $5 a month.
Employee Compensation – A 4% merit pay is planned plus $233,000 to implement a certification pay program.
My Comments – In an effort to meet council goals of remaining competitive with neighboring communities, a comprehensive salary study – that includes additional compensation for job related certifications – is in process and will be completed in November. At that time, additional discussions will be held on employee compensation.
Major projects underway with designated funding:
An Asset Management plan in process that will be used to create a financial plan and a five-year capital improvement plan.
Redesign of the Town website
Update of land development code
Review of Parks master plan
Reprogramming traffic signals
General Fund – A 2% increase is planned for this fund which covers traditional government services.
Utility Fund – Water and sewer rates are not covering the costs in this area. A rate consultant will review the current rate structure and staffing to maintain the desired level of service.
Infrastructure Investment Fund – Design plans for Belt Line Road streetscape 1.5 (Midway to Marsh) is planned as well as funds to finish the ADA Transition plan.
Economic Development Fund –A new strategic development plan for the department will be created plus additional funds for marketing and tourism outreach.
Airport Fund –The Town’s portion of a matching grant for taxiway improvements, general facility repairs and equipment, design of a new customs facility.
Storm Water Fund – Storm water assessment basin improvements and construction of a parallel storm water pipe on Sherlock Drive and Winter Park to reduce flooding.
Addison Grove Escrow Fund – Because development of Addison Groves has been delayed, $750,000 scheduled to be paid to reimburse the developer for public infrastructure costs is NOT included in the 2017-18 budget.
My Comments – While there is no “cash out” to Addison Groves in the 2017-18 budget, $1 million has been set aside to meet future obligations according to the contract. In most communities, long term assets such as large investments in infrastructure are funded through debt or bond issues. It is unfortunate that decisions made by the prior council forces current residents to pay for this development’s $5 million in infrastructure, thereby reducing funds available to meet current needs.