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On the agenda for Wednesday night’s City Commission meeting is the adoption of the final budget for fiscal year 2019-2020, which begins October 1. The proposed $262 million budget is based on an operating millage rate of 5.8587. This millage rate is a 5.5% reduction from the 6.2000 millage rate for FY 2018/19; however, the proposed millage rate is a 3% increase over the rolled back millage rate of 5.6880.
This millage rate results in $ 29,541,972 in budgeted property tax revenues, or $5,042,411 per mill.
The proposed budget includes increases in the personal service costs for the city. The total number of full-time employees will increase by 33 positions, from 878 to 911. Of those positions, twelve of them are unfunded, awaiting funding sources such as grant awards.
There are new funded positions in the following departments:
Police (6), Fire (3), Utilities (7), Public Works (1), Finance/Utility Billing (1) and City Manager/Human Resources/Information Technology (2).
Additionally, the proposed budget brings all full-time employees to a minimum living wage of $31,200, at a total cost of $175,000. Additionally, employees will receive a 3% raise in October, and an additional 4% in April, in accordance with the union agreements being brought to the City Commission at their meeting of September 18, 2019.
Changes are being made in various funds within the budget. The Halifax Harbor Marina and Plaza enterprise funds are being combined into a single enterprise fund. The Tennis, JRBP/Municipal Stadium, Golf, and Cultural Services enterprise funds are being closed as separate entities, with their operations being absorbed by the General Fund.
Finally, due to changes in the Fiscal Integrity Ordinance passed earlier this year, the required reserves are now explicitly included within the budget, thus increasing the level of transparency.