Myers proposes city budget that would see spending go down but taxes go up, just a little

  • Published in Local News

LACONIA —  Presenting his first budget to the City Council last night, City Manager Scott Myers proposed trimming city expenditures by $550,000 for the fiscal year that begins July 1, from $21.6-million to $21-million, a decrease of 2.5-percent.

However, Myers projects revenues from sources other than property taxes, including the use of the undesignated fund balance, will decrease by $624,387, or 8.9-percent.  His recommendation to use $150,000 less fund balance to ...

LACONIA —  Presenting his first budget to the City Council last night, City Manager Scott Myers proposed trimming city expenditures by $550,000 for the fiscal year that begins July 1, from $21.6-million to $21-million, a decrease of 2.5-percent.

However, Myers projects revenues from sources other than property taxes, including the use of the undesignated fund balance, will decrease by $624,387, or 8.9-percent.  His recommendation to use $150,000 less fund balance to offset taxes, together with reduced returns on investments and  payments in lieu of taxes represent more than half the shortfall.

Consequently, the amount to be raised by property taxes to fund the city portion of the budget is projected to rise from $15.215,238 to $15,329,320, or less than one-percent. Altogether the total municipal tax commitment, including the school district and the county apportion, is budgeted to rise some $552,000, from $38.5-million to $39-million, or by 1.4-percent.

Myers reminded the council that contracts with the four unions representing city employees have expired and negotiations are ongoing. Meanwhile, the budget includes step raises and a two-percent cost-of-living adjustment for non-union employees, which Myers said was matched by "a significant reduction in health insurance costs." He said that employees currently contribute four-percent to the cost of health insurance premiums  and the goal is to increase their share to 12-percent in this budget cycle and to 15-percent in the next.

While there are no new full-time positions in the budget, Myers said a number of part-time, seasonal positions have been added to the Department of Public Works and Parks and Recreation Department in order to fulfil the council's goal of improving the overall appearance of the city.

Myers recommends increasing capital outlays in the operating budget, which would be funded with cash, by 45-percent to $1,725,000, by raising the appropriation for street repairs by $500,000 to $1,350,000. In addition, he proposes borrowing $380,000 to purchase a new fire truck to replace Engine Number 1, a 1998 pumper.

By Charter, the council now has until the third week of July to act on Myers's proposal.