Monroe’s 2019 budget focuses on parks, new police HQ

Monroe Council got a preview of the city’s 2019 general fund budget.

City Manager Bill Brock gave a quick overview that noted the city’s budget priorities: parks, facility planning, comprehensive planning process and personnel.

According to Monroe’s five-year forecast, the city is estimating a carry-over of $4.74 million from the 2018 budget. It is projecting 2019 revenues at $17.1 million and estimating expenses of nearly $17.1 million for 2019.

During his presentation, Brock gave an overview of each of the budget priorities.

Parks and Recreation: Brock said the city will continue to move forward with the design of areas within Monroe Bicentennial Commons (the former Americana amusement park), Baker and Community parks. He said the city would be working on the entrance, play area and restrooms in Monroe Bicentennial Commons as well as the dog park area in Baker. In addition, Brock said the city is considering placing a splash pad area in Community Park.

He said the city would continue to build future projects into the capital improvements budget as well as continue to study staffing and programming needs for its park system.

Facility Planning: Brock said the city will be working with KZF to design a new $600,000 police facility in 2019 with a goal to start construction in spring 2020. City officials have not yet determined the site where the new police facility will be located as it has outgrown its quarters at the city building. He also said the city was working to identify funding to expand Holman Avenue facility that houses the public works department.

Comprehensive Planning: In 2019, Brock said the city will begin developing a new comprehensive plan. He said the current plan is more than 10 years old and many agencies that provide grants are more favorable to communities with a comprehensive plan that is no more than five years old.

Brock said the new comprehensive plan process will take about a year to complete and will re-evaluate Monroe’s development and zoning strategies. In addition, the housing study will feed into the new comprehensive plan that will help develop future infrastructure, streetscape and area development plans.

Personnel: Brock said there will be no positions budgeted in 2019 except for filling vacancies. He said the city will be re-evaluating organizational needs in the Public Works Department and evaluating other positions listed previously in other departments as the city grows. Brock also said city officials will continue to update and review position descriptions and salary comparables.

He said there would be no increase in insurance costs and that council will have to decide whether to match the 3 percent raises scheduled in the union contracts for the non-union employees or grant cost of living increases. In addition, the city and the fire union will begin negotiations on a new contract at the end of 2019.

Other highlights in the proposed 2019 budget include:

  • An increase in the city manager's office budget to include about $35,000 for the costs of the new transit services contract.
  • Increases for training and negotiations for human resources.
  • An added budget line item for potential economic development incentives.
  • A review of processes and staffing in the Development Department as well as a budget for demolition if needed.
  • Development of an asset tracking project for the Finance Department.
  • There are no changes in the City Council or Mayor's Court budgets.

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