Longmont Staff Unveils $362.79 Million Budget Proposal for 2019
The proposed 2019 Longmont city operating budget and 2019-2023 capital improvement plan are posted on the city budget office’s web page, https://tinyurl.com/y9dn9jy5
Longmont might not pay for the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show at the Boulder County Fairgrounds next summer.
That could save Longmont from having to spend about $27,000 from its general fund in the 2019 budget, city staff reported during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
Eliminating the fireworks display was one of a number of cost-saving measures that Jim Golden, the city’s chief financial officer, touched on during his overview of the proposed 2019 budget.
However, even with a number of measures city staff has suggested to bring next year’s ongoing operating expenses in line with projected revenues, the overall spending package proposed for next year — a budget with multiple accounts, and not just the general fund — would total $362.79 million.
That would represent a 15.09 percent increase from the $315.23 million spending package authorized in the original 2018 budget City Council adopted in October 2017 for the current fiscal year.
There would be no municipal sales and use or property tax increases in next year’s budget, but there would be at least two utility rate increases approved previously by the council — a 9 percent average increase in water bills and a 2 percent average increase in sewer bills.
In addition, fee increases averaging 5 percent are being proposed for users of the city’s recreation facilities, such as swimming pools.
The general fund within the overall $362.79 million proposed budget would be $85.65 million, a $2.95 million increase from the originally adopted 2018 general fund. That would include $82.4 million in ongoing expenses — a $2.17 million increase from this year — and a $3.26 million increase in one-time general fund expenses.
To balance the budget’s general fund with projections of next year’s revenues, reductions of about $1.12 million in ongoing expenses will be required, Golden told the council.
During his presentation, Golden did not list any major reductions in city services or programs as part of the recommended budget. Most of the ones he cited would save several thousand dollars each.
Staff has recommended eliminating five now-vacant positions: a full-time chief information officer, a full-time programmer analyst, a full-time public safety administrative assistant, a half-time public safety education coordinator and the equivalent of three half-time pages in the Longmont Public Library
In addition to ending $27,000 in city funding for the Fourth of July fireworks show, among other spending reductions being proposed are: $70,000 less for contracted parks maintenance; $20,000 less for mosquito control spraying; $7,000 the city now spends on a welcome-to-Longmont guide and Visit Longmont advertising; $3,000 less for software maintenance; and $9,500 in various budget line-items in risk, safety and wellness programs.
Reorganizations in the Public Works and Natural Resources department are projected to save $19,221 in next year’s budget, and reorganization of the Community Services Department is expected to save $61,332, Golden said.
In his annual message to council that accompanies each year’s proposal, City Manager Harold Dominguez wrote that “while this budget is challenged to fund all of our needs for ongoing resources, it is one that continues to make progress in key areas.
“Growth in both sales and use tax and development revenue in this proposed budget allows our operating funds to continue to maintain most service levels, and in some cases, enhance service levels and to provide pay to our employees at or above market levels.”
Council will review staff’s budget proposals during several of meetings in September — meetings at which they might suggest changes — before final adoption of a 2019 budget in October. Those meetings are to include public hearings on Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 23.
Contact Staff Writer John Fryar at 303-684-5211 or firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/jfryartc