After two public workshops to examine the 2014-15 preliminary budget, Plant City commissioners adopted Sept. 22, its $66 million budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15.
City commissioners lauded former Interim City Manager David Sollenberger and Finance Director Martin Wisgerhof for their efforts in accomplishing something that hasn’t been done in five years — a raise for all city employees.
Under the proposed budget, all 400 employees will receive a 5% wage increase. The employees also will enjoy a 9% reduction in their monthly health insurance premiums, thanks to a new agreement between the Florida League of Cities and United Healthcare, the city’s current provider.
Furthermore, the city will add three firefighters to Plant City Fire Rescue. The new personnel will enable the department to reduce overtime, which will more than cover the cost of the additional staff, Sollenberger said.
The budget also includes funding for a strategic plan for Plant City fire and rescue services to meet the demands of future growth.
The budget is based a property tax millage rate of 4.7157, the same rate used in 2013-14.
Overall, the proposed budget is $66,452,213, a decrease of about $16 million from last year’s total, $82,638,964. It does maintain a fund balance above the minimum policy of 15% of revenues.
Here is a look at the 2014-15 city budget, with closer examination into the most significant changes.Employee Raises For the first time in five years, the budget includes an across-the-board 5% raise for city employees. Non-step employees will receive a 5% increase; step employees will see a an increase of 4% plus 1%; and maxed-out employees will receive a 5% increase. Taxable Properties The city is projecting a 6% gross increase in taxable properties, from $1,512,667,319 in FY 2014 to $1,604,591,334 in FY 2015. City Manager Budget Appropriation FY 2012-13 FY 2013-14* FY 2014-15 Personnel Services $365,834.80 $465,475 $428,200 Commodities/Contractual $14,955.57 $21,300 $25,900 Capital Outlay $3,903.64 $0 $0 Total $384,694.01 $486,775 $454,100 *Amended Millage Rate The 2014-15 city budget is balanced with a 4.7157 millage rate — the same rate as last year. General Fund revenues are projected to be $883,012 higher than last year. Moreoever, the city expects property-tax revenues to increase by $411,812. The General Fund The city’s General Fund represents the majority of its operations, including the Plant City Police Department, Plant City Fire Rescue, Recreation and Parks Department, Plant City Commission and more. At $26,616,490, the General Fund budget is about $1.3 million (3%) higher than last year’s budget ($25,276,545.74). The 5% wage increase for all employees accounts for about $553,000 of that. Other increases to General Fund expenditures include a 21% increase in the City Clerk line item ($49,018); a 24% increase in Information Technology ($176,586); a 38% increase in Purchasing ($35,278); a 16% increase in Code Enforcement ($48,750); and a 21% increase in Engineering ($146,120).