The proposed budget for the City of Henderson includes a bump in salary for some frontline city employees, continued funding for economic incentives and grants and, what may interest city residents most – no increase in taxes or fees for city services.
The $22.68 million also includes a $1.65 million appropriation from the fund balance, which City Manager Terrell Blackmon called a “considerable reduction” from the appropriation from the previous fiscal year. This reduction is due largely in fact to the availability of ARPA pandemic relief funds.
“The fund balance is still doing great at this time,” Blackmon told WIZS News Tuesday in a statement via email, adding that it remains well above minimum requirements of both the City Council and the Local Government Commission.
Blackmon provided details of the budget to WIZS News earlier Tuesday via email. The city council is set to vote on approval of the 2022-23 budget at its June meeting.
According to Blackmon, personnel costs are the biggest variable in the proposed budget.
“Although there is no cost-of-living increase in the FY23 budget, we are absorbing salary increases from police and fire the past two years in addition to cost-of-living and premium pay increases in the current budget,” Blackmon stated.
In an overview of the budget that was presented to the city council, Blackmon noted that revenues – although up – continue to be projected in a conservative manner and expenditures limited to capital needs.
The budget addresses one of the issues in the city’s recently adopted strategic plan – employee recruitment and retention – by giving frontline workers in operations, water and wastewater departments a $1 increase in their hourly rates. He said this moves those salaries closer to the current market rate and will hopefully help to retain employers in these areas.
The city may have to take a second look at water rates once construction begins on the regional water system expansion, but that is not expected to begin until early 2023. Blackmon said the city is seeking approval for the project from the
The budget designates $25,000 to the Downtown Development Commission for incentive and grant programs toward continued downtown revitalization and $100,000 in economic development grants for ongoing projects at M.R. Williams, North Central Medical Transport and MAKO Laboratory.
The police and fire departments will get funding for leasing and lease-purchase of needed equipment, including police cars under a 5-year lease plan and possible purchase of a new fire engine by the fire department.
Blackmon said the budget reflects “further positive steps to help the city grow and reach its full potential.”
Part of that potential lies in the West End Urban Redevelopment Plan, which focuses on improvements to areas near the downtown area as well as the Flint Hill Community Development Plan. These projects represent a $1.5 million investment in redevelopment activities in the city, which could include acquisition of properties, down payment help for first-time home buyers and urgent repairs to homes – all of which would help strengthen the downtown area and nearby neighborhoods.
“We must continue to work towards innovative ways to promote and energize redevelopment initiatives now to position the city to be ready for near future business prospects and citizenship,” Blackmon said.
See the full proposed budget at https://cms8.revize.com/revize/henderson/recommended%20budget%20FY%2023.pdf