The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
City Council, December 5
2012 Budget review
Warwick Jones and Marc Knapp
Council will vote on the City’s 2012 budget at its next meeting. A draft on the proposed budget can be seen on the City’s web site. The Mayor has already commented that revenues are expected to rise modestly, and the gains will be used to fund higher spending on Police and Fire services. A 3% increase in salaries and wages is also planned. Importantly, no tax increase is proposed.
As in previous years, we have broken down the figures and prepared summaries of both the General and Enterprise Funds. Press Download file to see summaries
A more detailed analysis has also been made for 2012 and the previous 4 years. It can be accessed in the following commentary.
Revenue (press Download file to see summary) projected to increase by 3.2% ($6.05 million) to $129 million and reflects:
- A net increase in property taxes of $1.85 million. This comprised a 2.7% increase in City property taxes ($1.13 million), a 72.7% increase from prior years ($1.7 million), offset by an 11.9% decrease from Berkeley County ($822,000).
- An 11.9 % increase in State Grants and Local Option Sales tax ($1.6 million).
- An 11% increase in the SCE&G franchise fee ($1.1 million).
- A 5.5% increase in business licenses ($1.25 million).
Expenses (press Download file to see summary) are projected to increase 6.2% ($7.75 million) to $132.5 million and reflects:
- A 32.7% increase in employee benefits ($1.1 million).
- A 4.2% increase for Police ($1.54 million) and a 56.6% increase for Police Radio Shop ($378,000).
- A 1% increase For Fire Department ($219,000) and 55.1% for Fire Department Training ($322,000).
- A 35.3% reduction in capital leases ($1.55 million).
- Expenses benefited by a $753,000 savings on Non Departmental, essentially employee salaries and retirement costs. This compared with a benefit of $3.229 million in 2011.
The deficit in the General Fund is projected at $3.51 million compared with the estimated deficit for this year of $1.81 million.
As is usual, the projected surplus from Enterprise Funds ($3.51 million) is expected to allow the City to balance its accounts.
Revenue (press Download file to see summary) is projected to rise 12.3% to $25.8 million, an increase of $2.82 million.
Major contributors to the increase are:
- A 13.6% increase from the City Market ($255,000).
- A 248% increase from the JPR Ballpark ($976, 000). This increase will reflect transfers in from the Admission Tax and the Hospitality Fee.
- A 10% increase in parking revenues ($1.7 million).
Expenses are projected to rise 5.3% to $23.3 million, an increase of $1.1 million. Major contributors to the increase are;
- A 242% increase in spending at the JPR Ballpark ($1.05 million).This largely relates to an extra $1 million provision for maintenance.
- The cost of servicing the bonds issue to renovate the City market ($504,000).
- A 7.9 % increase in Parking Facilities Administration ($550,000).
- Expenses also benefited from a fall in overall loan servicing costs and a drop in the cost of administering the Gaillard Auditorium, which is shortly to be renovated.