After a lengthy work session tonight, and with a deadline to adopt a budget to the coming fiscal year in sight, the F.C. City Council was in unofficial consensus tonight in support of the request of Mayor David Tarter that City Manager Wyatt Shields revise his original budget recommendation and come back with a “flat rate” one for the Council to consider with no tax rate increase.
Without spelling out specifics, except for the admonition from Council member Dan Sze that he “don’t sacrifice the things you’ve heard us say we like” and Vice Mayor David Snyder’s call to “not cut either City or the schools’ budget requests,” the Council put it on Shields to propose finding $1.6 million in cuts to lower the proposed tax rate from his original recommendation of $1.35 to the current rate of $1.305.
Options that are apparently available to Shields are a surplus that may manifest itself from the current fiscal year budget that should become evident with the release of third quarter numbers in the next week, and a reduction in the fund balance from the 17 percent of annual expenditures level currently proposed to something slightly less.
Shields is to have his new budget ready for Council consideration on Thursday, where at another work session the Council hopes to hone in on the parameters of the next budget. It has until April 28 to formally vote on it.
The Council received a recommendation from the City’s Retirement Board on how to best deploy $11 million from the sale of the water system that, it claimed, would yield an annual $800,000 on average to the City for general uses. The board called for investing the money in an endowment component of the City’s pension fund. to achieve this result.