Investment in infrastructure key in budget
Franklin—City Administrator Eric Stuckey announced Monday, May 7, the City’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018-2019. The proposed FY19 budget for all funds is $152,572,551 which represents a decrease of 2.8% compared to FY18.
The proposed 2017-18 (FY18) general fund budget is $70,550,059, which represents an increase of 1.7% compared to the current $69.4 million budget for 2017-18 (FY18). This budget increase is primarily due to cost increases in personnel expenses and the funding of expanded services in the areas of public safety, parks, and streets, all of which are significantly impacted by growth.
“While Franklin’s growth and unprecedented level of investment in our community is certainly positive, it does place undeniable challenges before us. Community infrastructure and services can be strained because of growth,” said City Administrator Eric Stuckey. “The City has responded with significant investment in infrastructure to meet our growing community’s needs. Over the past five years, $167.2 million of infrastructure projects have been completed in Franklin, with $140.6 million (or 84%) being transportation-related improvements. In the coming weeks, the City of Franklin will see completion of two major projects: the upgraded Water Treatment Plant (in final commissioning now) and Hillsboro Road improvements.”
Two years ago, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA) moved decisively to put Invest Franklin in place, which dedicated $0.10 of property tax to growth-related infrastructure/transportation investments ($0.07) and the increasing demands for core city services ($0.03). The Board has identified a “first tier” of Invest Franklin projects totaling approximately $74 million to address roadway/transportation improvements (McEwen Phase 4, Franklin Road, sidewalk gaps, major street resurfacing), public safety needs (Fire Station 7 and county wide radio system upgrade), transit improvements (reducing wait times to 30 minutes for all Franklin Transit stops), and parks (development of a large community park in southeast Franklin). Later this year, we expect to work with the Board to identify and prioritize a “second tier” of Invest Franklin projects to further meet community needs. The State of Tennessee has enhanced transportation funding with the adoption of the IMPROVE Act in 2017. Working in partnership with the State, important transportation projects FY 2019 Operating Budget – City of Franklin Page vii totaling over $100 million are moving forward including Mack Hatcher Northwest Extension (a $48 million project that is expected to bid later this year), along with improvements to Columbia Avenue, State Route 96 (Murfreesboro Road) on the City’s eastern border, and bridge improvements on Murfreesboro Road. Aggressively advancing investments in key infrastructure is essential to maintaining Franklin’s quality of life.
Highlights of the Proposed 2018-19 Budget\
- The budget is balanced, with current revenues equaling expenditures.
- The budget fully complies with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s debt and fund reserve policies,significantly exceeding the reserve requirements.
- The City property tax remains unchanged at $0.4176 per $100 of assessed valuation. The Invest Franklin dedicated funding for infrastructure/transportation investment and support of City operations remains in place. The City of Franklin continues to maintain one of the lowest municipal property tax rates in the State of Tennessee.
- Overall, the proposed budget has a net increase of 4.5 positions across all funds, 1.5 of which are included in the General Fund. This targeted group of new positions are in areas such as Engineering, Streets (Fleet Maintenance), Water Management, and Stormwater, all of which have been impacted by growth.
- The general pay increase for City team members will be effective the first pay period of July 2018. The proposed budget includes a general pay increase of 2.5% plus an additional performance-based pay increase of up to an additional 2.5%.
- The budget includes the full implementation of updates to the City’s compensation plan approved by the Board in FY18. This adjustment to the compensation plan is accelerated by a full year compared to the original proposal.
- Health Insurance premiums for our City team members will remain at FY18 rates. There is no increase in premiums. In FY19, the City also will begin offering a high deductible health insurance option paired with a health savings account.
- Funding is provided for important investments in equipment replacements of $3.5 million, technology enhancements of more than $500,000, and facility improvements of nearly $500,000.
- The City’s street maintenance program will have a $1 million increase in funding for neighborhood street resurfacing, street sealing, and sidewalk repair.
- A rate increase is proposed for residential garbage collection and recycling service. The proposed increase is from $17.50 per month to $19.00 per month. The FY19 budget does not require a General Fund subsidy to Sanitation and Environmental Services operations.
- The proposed budget incorporates performance measures and sustainability initiatives for every department. The connection to our Strategic Plan, FranklinForward, is clearly linked to performance measures and objectives throughout the budget, including insights from the recently completed citizen survey.