Mayor Steve Bach released the city’s proposed 2013 budget during a press conference this morning at the City Administration Building.
Highlights of the 362 page document (available as a pdf on the web at springsgov.com) include:
-An increase in general fund expenditures of $11 million, partially offset by $3.3 million in internal expense reductions.
-$2 million in storm water funding from the city’s general fund, characterized as a “small, first step” in addressing the “$500 million in (storm water) backlog improvement needs.” These “urgent projects” will be done by private contractors.
-Reinstating evening bus service.
-Implementation of “phase 2” testing of snowplowing privatization plans.
-Turning on 3,500 streetlights that were deactivated during the recession, and then completing a long-range plan to determine how many streetlights are actually needed.
-Opening fire station 21, and staffing it with 15 additional firefighters. These positions will be financed by a two-year SAFER federal grant.
-Host two monthly free health clinics at fire stations in the south, southeastern and central part of the city. Asked whether this meant that the city was introducing its own version of Obamacare, Bach cited the soaring cost of 911 calls to parts of the city with many uninsured residents, who often lack access to rudimentary health care.
Bach also released a “risk based analysis of general fund reserve requirements for the City of Colorado Springs” conducted by the Government Finance Officers Association at the city’s request.
The GFOA recommended that the city maintain reserves equivalent to 25 percent of its general fund revenue, a surprisingly high figure. Current reserves stand at about 20 percent of general fund, far above pre-recession levels.
-$13 million for sales tax uncertainty
-$7.5 million for economic uncertainty in other revenues
-$8.25 million for pension payment uncertainty
-$5.25 million for critical bridge failure
-$11.6 million for critical storm sewer replacement
-$5-7.5 million for extreme events
-$2 – 4 million for expenditure spikes from lawsuits
Total: $27 million as a “budgetary uncertainty reserve” and $27 million as an emergency reserve, amounting to $54 million, or approximately 25 percent of general fund revenues.