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Germantown financial commission endorses $58.9 million budget

By Updated: April 30, 2019 10:23 PM CT | Published: April 30, 2019 10:19 PM CT

As Germantown looks at its 2020 budget, residents will not see a property tax increase as the city enters the third year of its five-year tax plan.

The Financial Advisory Commission reviewed the nearly $59 million general fund budget a final time Tuesday night before sending it to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for consideration. The amount is an 8% increase from last fiscal year.

The commission recommended approval of the financial plan, which city administrator Patrick Lawton called a “balanced budget."

Despite no property tax increase, the city expects an increase of about $35,000 in revenue in 2020. In 2019, the city is projecting more than $4 million in excess funds, $2 million more than expected.

Sales tax revenue is about 25% of the general fund.

Although expenditures are increasing, the 2020 budget summary estimates more than $817,000 remaining after spending, but that is less than the millions the city has seen in previous years.

Many of the budget items were already familiar to the commission from previous meetings. Two of the biggest expenditures are in public safety and street paving, Lawton said.

The public safety budget will increase more than $1 million from the current fiscal year. Part of the additional funds will add six police officers to create an eighth police district, leading to the altering of some other district boundaries.

Deputy Police Chief Rodney Bright said the department wants  a better presence in the western city limits to “stay ahead of growth and activity.”

The budget calls for $800,000 in street paving, which equals about 10 miles, said Bo Mills, public works director.

General government is about 29% of the budget and its 2020 funding increased about 6.2%. School resource officers for Forest Hill Elementary are included in this fund. In addition, a 3% merit-based pay raise for city employees is part of the budget. Human Resources Director Steve Wilensky said Germantown has a high retention rate as employees average more than 20 years with the city. Jason Huisman, assistant city administrator, praised the high employee standards.

The board gave the Germantown Municipal School District about $2.5 million in 2019, but this year will give them an additional $10,000 for operating costs. The general fund does not include capital project contributions.

The aldermen will review the budget as a board for the first time in a work session May 8, and will vote following the first reading May 13. The second reading and public hearing are scheduled for June 10, with the final reading June 24, just before the new fiscal year on July 1.

There are still some unknowns associated with the budget – primarily if the city is the chosen bidder for the former Germantown Country Club property. That potential purchase is not included in the current financial plan. The city intends to bid on the property before the June 4 deadline.

“Folks, we’re not done,” Lawton said, reminding commissioners the city desires the 180-acre club on the northeast corner of Farmington Boulevard and Kimbrough Road.

If the city is the chosen bidder, officials will adjust the budget accordingly, with the Finance Commission asked to recommend adjustments for the cost. The city will not be able to purchase the property until July since the funds will be part of the 2020 budget, Lawton said last week.


Abigail Warren: Germantown aldermen weigh in on country club as city considers purchase


“We are presenting the budget as we know it today,” Lawton said. “Right now, what you see is what we are going to be presenting to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen with your recommendation.”

The commission previously explored revenue enhancements to accommodate the purchase, including increasing vehicle registration fees and adding a fee to residents’ water bills. No final decision was made on either potential revenue stream.

Topics

Germantown Budget Patrick Lawton Germantown Country Club Finance Advisory Commission
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a May 2018 graduate of the University of Memphis.  She has worked for several local publications and has covered Germantown since May 2018.


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