After spending months pouring over facts, figures and documents, the Manchester City Council and city staff presented a budget to the public for the coming fiscal year 2019-2020.
All-in-all, there wasn’t anything earth shaking in the unanimously passed budget — the total expenditures forecasted for next fiscal year are $14,972,177, compared to $14,388,018 in the current fiscal year. Mayor Milt Kramer also stated that the total levy rate per $1,000 of valuation on regular property will remain unmoved at $15.57.
But there was a marked increase in one area — the total projected revenues for the coming year are $15,098,788, compared to $13,130,658.
While there was no written correspondence regarding the budget, there was one man who spent some time asking questions during the public hearing.
Manchester resident Jeff Ogden asked if the approximately $3 million that was being proposed for a new city shop was included in the budget, to which City Clerk Erin Learn answered it was not.
“In our budget forms, I do not have anything budgeted for the city shop in the next fiscal year. That would need to be an amendment if we get to the point where the council is ready to take action,” Learn said. “But at this point, I didn’t feel like we were close enough on any numbers to budget anything.”
Another concern of Odgen’s was the price tag for the coming 2020 street project, which is estimated around $4 million.
Kramer explained the figure for the massive street project is a little misleading because of all the other funding sources the city will be raking in to help finance the project.
In the Highway 13 project, Vick said $2.4 million of the financing would be coming from state funds. He said the state will cover the travel portions and shoulders of the street, while the city is responsible for curb, gutters, parking and streetlights.
Vick said they are still applying for two grants to offset cost, but the remainder will be paid out of local option sales tax.
“We’ll have those expenditures but we have revenues coming in to offset it, so it’s not 100 percent (paid) through debt service by the city,” Vick said.
Break-down by department and other expenditures: for the 2019-2020 budget, Public Safety will receive $1,634,393 ($1,589,314 in the 2018-19 budget); Public Works $1,272,829 ($1,662,001); Culture and Recreation $1,006,858 ($1,053,866); Community and Economic Development $387,906 ($382,580); General Government $340,606 ($345,755); Debt Service $1,239,416 ($1,292,066); Capital Projects $3,425,569 ($2,149,000); Business Type/Enterprises $1,775,271 ($2,561,989).
Within the $3,425,569 Capital Project budget for the coming year: East Delaware Street Parking Lot $165,000; Downtown Incentive Program $50,000; Bikeway/Walkway Repairs $5,000; Street Repairs/Crack Sealing $35,000; Engineering/Consultant $50,000; South Franklin Street overlay $50,000; 2020 Street Project $2,670,569; East Main Street Resurfacing $425,000.
In other news, the council:
• Held and passed the second reading of an ordinance that would vacate the alley between the old Grumpy Bill’s building and the Whitewater Park.
• Approved writing-off $468 of unpaid utility bills that the city was unable to collect due to bankruptcy, the property being sold to the city, death or a minimum balance which cannot be done through a collection agency. Of the 22 accounts listed, 21 were for amounts under $20.25. An account for Smitty’s on 314 W. Main was for $241.
• Updated a development agreement between the City and Community Savings Bank. Vick explained to the council the original deal had the bank’s project assessed at $1 million, but due to the project getting larger, that assessed valuation is now $3 million. Vick commented that he thinks it is a great opportunity for the bank to be making this large of an investment in the downtown area.
• Held the first reading to rezone 1228 North 2nd Street from R1-70 to R-2. Previously some neighbors voiced concerns, but after a second session with the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Commission is recommending approval.
• Will hold a meeting regarding the proposed Rental Housing Code March 20 at 6 p.m. The council will also host a public hearing April 8 regarding a proposed Urban Revitalization Plan, which could offer ten-year tax abatement incentives to developers in order to encourage the development of more housing.