Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas Presents City Budget below Tax Cap
Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas presented his FY2013 budget proposal for the City of Manchester Thursday evening.
Mayor Gatsas began his budget address by highlighting the recent savings the city was able to realize due to concessions made by the majority of city unions and the non-unionized employees. Gatsas began, “we have made significant progress and that deserves recognition. This progress has resulted in the savings of nearly $2.8 million dollars to city taxpayers to date. While I am pleased with the concessions made by the city unions, and the resulting savings, I am equally pleased that the result of these negotiations means we forgo 38 layoffs from within the general fund.”
The concessions have also given the city the ability to make important public safety improvements including the addition of 7 police officers brining the new city compliment to 217 and restoring the compliment of our front line firefighters. “Public safety is imperative to a secure, sustainable future and this budget delivers on that promise,” continued Gatsas.
This was the first year that the tax cap was implemented in the City of Manchester. Per city charter the Mayor is required to present a budget within the guideline of the tax cap which limits the city property tax revenues and expenditures to the three year average of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This year the tax cap rate is 1.47%. The tax rate increase proposed by the mayor is below the tax cap rate at 1.41%.
“A 1.41% increase represents $2,585,261. It is broken down as follows . . . an additional $339,292 goes to the city and $2,245,969 goes to the schools. This represents a .34% tax revenue increase for FY2013 to the city and a 2.94% tax revenue increase in FY2013 to the schools,” explained Gatsas. The increase for the Manchester School District will offset the decline of district revenues.
Mayor Gatsas reported that the City of Manchester expects to generate a $1.7 million dollar surplus in FY2012 due in large part to the mild winter weather. Gatsas added, “with this surplus I have made the following allocations: $1 million to prepay city retirement in fiscal year 2013, $435,000 to be used towards the second installment of the city recycling toters and $250,000 for the design engineering of the Derryfield Golf Course. The allocation of this surplus is responsible.”
Gatsas highlighted the progress of Manchester’s new municipal complex, most notably the centralized garage which will be completed by mid-April. As a result of the centralized garage the Mayor has created a new department for centralized fleet operations. Gatsas noted, “this line item is the allocation for the new Department that will be responsible for the city fleet. The funding of this line item was created through the reductions in departments that currently maintain our fleet. This is not a new source of funding merely a reallocation of funding.”
For the Manchester School District Gatsas has made a level funded appropriation of $150,200,000. This appropriation accounts for an approximate $2.2 million dollar revenue loss that the district would have to make up in FY2013.
To help meet the budgetary shortfall for the district Gatsas called on the unions within the district to make concessions similar to that of the city unions. “If the unions . . . come forward with similar concessions to the city unions there’s up to $5 million dollars in savings that can be realized. That is savings that can be used to restore teaching and support staff positions should layoffs occur and to restore programming that will be cut,” explained Gatsas.
Gatsas also addressed city infrastructure by allocating bonded monies to the following projects:
-$1.5 million to road improvements and reconstruction;
-$750,000 for motorized equipment replacement;
-$150,000 to fund the 50/50 sidewalk program;
-$380,000 toward the reconstruction of Elm Street sidewalks and;
-$220,000 towards the restoration of Mast Road caused by drainage failure.
Gatsas concluded his budget address by stating, “we should be pleased that despite what’s happened to the world around us the City of Manchester has fared very well and the city has maintained a AA bond rating. Businesses are thriving and new businesses are opening.
“We have made lasting improvements to our city infrastructure that future generations will be able to enjoy.”
“But we can not take this success for granted. We must rise to the challenge and continue to work everyday towards a secure, sustainable future and we must be vigilant.”
A public hearing will be scheduled and announced for the Mayor’s proposed FY2013 in the coming days.