Amending the current fiscal year budget earlier in the year revealed structural deficits, according to City Administrator Matt Shaffstall.
“Previous budgets included overestimated revenue projections and use of fund balance reserves to balance the budget,” Shaffstall wrote. “A tremendous amount of time and energy went into ensuring that the budget is balanced using current revenues to cover operating expenses.”
In addition to making sure revenues exceed expenditures, staff said an effort was made to match sources of funding so one-time revenue sources went to one-time expenditures, such as capital improvement projects.
Department heads were asked to maintain the status quo and forego new personnel or vehicles, though merit-based raises of up to 5 percent for city employees were budgeted to correspond with the new city employee handbook that calls for annual performance evaluations.
The service levels for several departments are also expected to change.
One current full-time employee in utility billing would become part-time and split time between two city departments, according to the budget.
The budget also recommends the Public Works Department be restructured, cutting the work crew from seven positions to six and restructuring the work shift schedule to include a rotating weekend shift. The city hopes to save $34,000 with the change.
The restructuring of the Development Services Department, which handles planning, zoning, permitting, inspection and code enforcement, would continue under the new budget. Hiring a department director, a new position for the city, and continuing with third-party plan reviews and inspection services is budgeted for the upcoming fiscal year.
The budget also discusses the option of converting Willow Park Fire-Rescue from a non-profit department funded primarily by the city to a city department overseen by the city.
The city currently contracts with the volunteer department, which employs eight firefighters and provides 24-hour coverage. There are an additional 13 reserve firefighters who work for other fire departments while volunteering for Willow Park and three traditional volunteers who live inside city limits. The city provides more than 90 percent of the department’s funding, according to the budget. A cost analysis prepared by city staff estimates the city would save more than $10,000 by transitioning to a city-run department and allowing for a reduction in inefficient insurance and benefits expenses.