City Manager recommends funding for routine and special projects
“I felt like on the budget as a whole, we worked to make incremental improvements in all departments,” said City Manager Jerome Kitchens. “We’re working on things you don’t see very much, like traffic loops, wiring — things that you’ll see a lot — restrooms, but what we’re trying to do is to make the community better, to work on goals that we’ve identified, such as tourism. We’re not able to do everything. A prime example you’ll see is the baseball stadium.
At two workshops this week, Kitchens reviewed budget recommendations and standard appropriations for all city departments with City Councilmen and department heads.
Kitchens announced good news for both residents and city employees. Residents will not see a tax increase, he said, and he recommended a one percent raise in wages for city employees paid by both the General Fund and enterprise funds. In addition, Kitchens said health insurance is budgeted at a 15 percent increase at an additional cost of $113,000 from the General Fund.
The General Fund pays for departments like Police, Fire, Street and Highway, Planning and Development, Parks and Recreation, the library and others. Enterprise funds are generated by both rates and grants, like in the Water and Electric Departments.
The total of all funds is more $91.4 million, of which The General Fund budget for the upcoming fiscal year is at $18,515,168, an increase of nearly $570,000 from last year. More than half of the increase resulted from an increase in sales tax.
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