Concord City Council to decide on budget Thursday

  • Concord City Hall GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Adoption of next year’s budget will be the big-ticket item during Thursday’s Finance Committee meeting.

There’s been little change to City Manager Tom Aspell’s proposed $65 million operating budget so far, but that may change this week – the Finance Committee’s meeting is scheduled to start with a workshop session at 5:30 p.m., when councilors can talk about and act on any changes they want to make.

After the workshop will be a nonpublic session, where councilors will vote on renewing the city manager’s contract, Mayor Jim Bouley said during a Monday night council meeting. He anticipated it would be a “quick” session before the committee reconvenes for a public hearing and adoption of the budget.

Here’s a rundown of what’s at stake:

The numbers

The $65 million proposed operating budget for the fiscal year 2019 represents a $3.2 million increase over last year’s adopted budget of $61 million, the biggest spending increase proposed since 2014, budget documents show.

That year, the council adopted a $55.8 million operating budget; the next year, the budget for fiscal year 2016 went to $59.3 million. If the proposed budget remains as is, it will mean the city’s operating budget has increased by about $9 million since 2015.

The city anticipates about $41 million of its budget will be raised by property taxes, according to city documents.

For taxpayers, that means the property tax rate would grow from $9.84 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $10.23 per $1,000 – an increase of 3.96 percent. That’s about an extra $100 a year for a home worth $250,000.

What that buys

Of the $4 million in new expenses in this budget, about half relates to compensation and employee benefits.

About $375,000 will go toward the operation of the new community center, which was completed this month. A little more than half of that money is related to an added full-time maintenance technician and nine part-time employees.

About $1.3 million in raises and $638,000 for other employee benefits are expected as well.

About half of the tax rate increase is wrapped up in $794,000 worth of additional debt service; about $324,000 of that is related to the new community center costs. About $103,000 is related to the steam-heat conversion the city was forced to make.

Community improvements

About $4.9 million worth of capital improvement projects proposed for next year would be paid for through bonds and the general fund.

The most expensive would be $775,000 worth of improvements to the city’s stormwater system. Some pieces of the city’s infrastructure are around 100 years old, Aspell has said. The proposed project is just one piece of $10 million worth of improvements planned for the stormwater system over the next 10 years, according to budget documents.

Close behind is a proposal to spend $655,000 to replace city highway, water and wastewater treatment and parks and recreation vehicles. There is also a separate $510,000 item proposed to replace fire department vehicles.

About $310,000 is being proposed to make irrigation and landscaping improvements to Beaver Meadow Golf Club.

The whole budget can be viewed online on the city’s website.