The FY23 budget reflects the City’s sound financial position despite the challenges of the pandemic and volatile economic conditions of the last few years. This year’s budget includes a flat aggregate property tax levy, marking the second year in a row that the levy remains unchanged. This means the amount of property taxes collected for City services, $14.4M, will be the same as December 2020.
The flat levy is possible primarily due to fund balances in excess of policy minimums, over the past several years. Staff endeavored to reduce the excess fund balance by reducing the levy and increasing spending on infrastructure projects and enhanced City services. Since 2015 the overall levy went from $17.1M to the current proposal of $14.4M, a reduction of 16%. Spending on infrastructure and City services has increased throughout this period – with additional sewer lining, water main replacement, green alleys, customer service technology, and City building upgrades.
Despite these actions, the General Fund balance continued to increase based on offsetting positive trends, such as record high state income tax, personal property replacement tax, and sales tax. In addition, the City was allotted over $5M in COVID-19 relief from the American Rescue Plan.
Given this combination of factors, in addition to continuing the fund balance reduction strategies above, the FY23 budget includes the elimination of City vehicle stickers. This will reduce City revenues by approximately $1.2M in FY23 and have a direct positive financial impact on all residents owning a vehicle(s). This change will create an additional fund balance reduction lever and may be adjusted in future years, as necessary.