Monroe budget priorities outlined for 2018

Preparing for future was the theme of Monroe’s 2018 general fund budget presentation.

City Manager Bill Brock gave a short presentation to Monroe City Council that outlined some of the proposed budget highlights and said there will be few changes from the 2017 budget.

Monroe council is expected to adopt a temporary appropriations budget before Dec. 31 and to adopt a permanent 2018 budget by the end of March. He said council committees should meet to discuss how to address facilities and other needs.

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According to the city’s five-year financial forecast, officials are projecting just more than $14.9 million in spending and about $13.5 million in revenues for 2018. The city has forecast starting 2018 with nearly $5.28 million in carryover from 2017.

Brock said the 2018 budget priorities will focus on:

  • Evaluating staffing needs in the police and fire departments. Brock said the city is looking to add police officers, looking at the city's dispatching needs, adding staff for public works and parks, hiring a fire administrative assistant, and additional help in the income tax department.
  • Facilities planning for a new police facility and expansion of the public works facility. Council approved the purchase of a building adjacent to the public works facility at its Nov. 14 meeting. Brock said the city is looking at a new police facility as the growing department has overgrown its space in the city building. He said land for the police facility will need to be identified..
  • Parks and Recreation will continue the facilities planning to include the future development and improvements of Baker Sports Complex, Community Park, the former Americana amusement park and bike trails.
  • The city's capital budget will be discussed with council after Jan. 1.
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Brock said insurance costs will increase about 18.2 percent and the city is switching from Anthem to Humana with an increase in deductibles which was recommended by a group of staff members. He said the city has typically funded the Health Savings Account at 60 percent, but with the increase it would amount to 50 percent.

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The city is required to contribute 60 percent within the police contract and Brock is proposing that the contribution be 60 percent across the board. Brock also proposed a 3 percent cost of living increase that matches the increase the union contracts. He said the city is considering a salary survey to make sure pay ranges are appropriate.

Most city departments will see decreases in their budgets except for the parks and recreation, information technology, police, fire, court, and streets departments, Brock said.

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