Mayor Parker says the proposed budget has enough money to meet the city’s needs, but declining property tax revenues mean city administrators will have to make hard choices as the city crafts its four-billion dollar spending plan.
“I will be frank in saying that it’s somewhat precariously balanced. It is balanced, does not require a tax increase. It does provide for essential services in the city. We believe that we’re well-prepared for hurricane season, just as we are well-prepared to provide the services that citizens depend on every day.”
Parker says belt-tightening measures shouldn’t have much of an impact on citizens with tax rates staying the same as last year. She also says the city should avoid any employee furloughs, but some city jobs will be cut, with employees given the opportunity to work in other departments.
“We’re not going to base any staffing decisions on salary ranges. We’re going to base staffing decisions solely on the operational needs of the city departments.”
But council member Jolanda Jones says all departments have to be considered equally as the city makes its spending decisions.
“Because we’re all valuable, especially in these really tough times. And I just think that we be consistent with everyone. There is no one department in the city that is more important than the other one.”
Budget hearings will be held next month, with the new fiscal year starting July first.