Approved FY 2014-2015 Budget
August 20, 2014
Dear Councilors and Partners of Prattville,
As I bring your attention to the binders before each of you, I want to share with you the last two paragraphs of last year's budget presentation letter.
"With passage of this budget, we will make another step toward fiscal responsibility and proper management of this mechanized, service-oriented organization. This will also enable us to plan for future economic development projects, which equates to more revenue and possibly more jobs.
We have plans, we have goals, and we have commitments. These, coupled with new ideas, hard work, dedication and perseverance, have been and will prove to be the tools to continue to move this community forward."
This binder holds the proposed budget for 2014-2015 and as you review it, I'd like you to keep these thoughts in mind. This budget is based on the personnel and equipment necessary to deliver the core services that the City of Prattville is charged with providing to our residents. Inside this budget, we have included a number of capital projects, along with capital equipment outlay. With complete understanding of this mechanized, service-oriented organization, our valued employees cannot perform their tasks efficiently or effectively without having the proper equipment. This is a cost of doing business. In varying degrees, and coupled with a quality educational system, all of our projects, equipment, daily activities, programs and services equate back to economic development.
I am thrilled to report that through all of our efforts, Standard and Poor's upgraded the City's credit rating 2 steps in July from A to AA-, an accomplishment that is not easily achieved in this economy. We should all be proud. We have continued our consistent efforts in debt reduction and to date have decreased our overall debt by $17,662,893.24 or 27.1% since January 2011. Paying off debt is just as important as building a reserve fund and in this budget; we have allotted $700,000 to be added to that very important account.
Along with the General Fund budget, you'll also find our two enterprise fund budgets. Our Wastewater Division is evolving, becoming a P.R. (public relations) tool for this City and becoming our Clean Water Division. If you'll recall, Wastewater was in bad shape in 2011. The result of this move to an enterprise fund has allowed these clean water professionals to manage their revenue efficiently and effectively, replace worn out equipment, and bring the division to a much healthier state.
Today, Sanitation's financial footprint is much better. I'm looking forward to seeing this very vital division, its equipment and personnel evolving to make it more efficient and effective.
Wastewater, Sanitation, Urban Management, Facilities Maintenance, and Vehicle Maintenance are all divisions that make up the newly formed Public Works Department. These crews are sometimes overlooked, but are vitally important to our residents, our city and economic development.
Our Fire and Police Departments are quickly becoming some of our state's premiere public safety departments. Through continuation of our established trend of well-educated and well-trained employees, as well as updated and upgraded equipment, Prattville is the safe, friendly community that Daniel Pratt would be proud of in this 175th year since establishment.
General Government is another arm of this service-oriented government body. Great strides have been made here to be effective, efficient and ever evolving. This area is very seldom seen unless you visit us at 101 West Main Street, so please stop in to see us.
In February 2011, we made some very hard, but also very necessary decisions. While we have continued to evaluate and streamline our Quality of Life programs, these areas have gone through an evolution based on feedback we've gained from our citizens. Parks and Recreation, Special Events, and Performing/Cultural Arts all provide programs and events that keep our citizens active, involved and entertained. We have had more positive feedback on this summer's offerings than ever before. I am excited about continuing this trend and proud of the work being accomplished. We invite you to visit our historic downtown and walk along our Creekwalk and Autauga Creek that Daniel Pratt found to be so valuable.
This budget includes 5 positions not included in last year's budget. They are as follows:
- 2 Heavy Equipment Operators for Sanitation. This will allow our foremen to stop functioning as route drivers and assume their responsibilities as mid-managers.
- Assistant Horticulturist for Urban Management. This division has evolved over the past 3 years. The second division director position was downgraded to an assistant horticulturist, which will provide more efficiency in the division.
- Building Code Inspector. This position is being increased from part-time to full time as the needs of the division demand.
- Planner I for Planning & Development. This position is being added to suffice new state stormwater requirements implemented by ADEM.
We have included a 2% cost of living adjustment for all employees effective mid-year and proposed re-implementing merit raises after a lengthy 5-year hiatus.
I want to commend the Council Committees on their hard work with our department heads and the partnerships that have been formed that guarantee the success of our projects and programs. I want to thank our partners, both volunteers and our military. The strong sense of volunteerism and patriotism is ever present in this great community. Prattville would not be what it is today without each of you and all that you do!
Lastly, I leave you with this phrase...you can expect what you inspect. Our inspections have shown us to be more efficient, more effective and ever evolving.
And with these comments, I turn the proposed budget over to this body for your consideration. Should you have any questions or concerns, I am available to you in person, by phone or email and I thank you.
Bill Gillespie, Mayor
City of Prattville