Mark Taylor
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The Gardner City Council reviewed previewed two funds from the 2013 fiscal year budget on June 11.
The budget, which interim City Administrator Mike Press called “a spending blueprint for what you hope to accomplish within a certain amount of time,” must be completed by August.
The council will review each fund prepared by city staff during the next several weeks.
“Each fund is like a self-balancing checkbook,” said Laura Gourley, finance director.
The first fund reviewed was the Internal Services Fund, which includes monies earmarked for risk management, building maintenance, information technology services and utility billing.”
The 2013 budget proposes $1.8 million in Internal Service Fund spending.
Gourley said that includes a $91,000 decrease in Workers Compensation between 2010 and 2012 costs due to “significant safety efforts at all levels of the organization.
However an 8 percent increase for General Liability and Workers Compensation is included in the 2013.
For Information Technology, the 2013 budget includes $8,000 for two SCADA servers with redundant hard drives at the Hillsdale Water Plant and the Kill Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Gourley said PCs are currently in use at those locations and servers would be more appropriate.
Also included is a $20,000 “place holder” for a Storage Area Network that would back up all city files to a remote site in the event of a local disaster.
The 2013 budget also includes $15,000 for replacing 26 PCs using Windows XP.
Gourley said XP is no longer supported by MicroSoft.
“They won’t even talk to you about that product,” she said. “We’ve put off PC replacement for too long.”
For Building Maintenance, $334,000 is earmarked for replacing the roof on the Public Works Department’s Equipment Building and implementing energy audit recommendations.
For Utility Billing, $708,100 is projected for e-mail notification of account delinquencies, adding a billing calendar (showing billing due dates and shut off dates) to the city’s website, sending staff to a regional utility billing software training session, and creating a customer service manual.
The $3.8 million bond and interest fund reflects a decline in excise taxes to pay for street debt as a result of the declining construction market.
As a result, funds will be transferred from the Special Highway fund to cover portions of street debt through 2016.
Gourley added that five of 19 completed benefit districts are delinquent in payments.
The 2013 budget includes a 1 percent increase in property tax revenue based on the county appraiser’s estimate of a 1 percent increase in assessed valuation.
Gourley also said the city mill levy may increase up to 2 mills in 2014 for its share of the new elementary and middle school campus benefit district.
The school board and city council agreed last year to participate 50-50 in the benefit district.
Debt payments will begin in 2015.
An approved 2013 city budget must be filed with the state no later than Aug. 25.