A finance director, dump truck and two new police cars are among the extra costs included in a preliminary budget for the city of Brentwood in 2012, which runs from January through December.
City Administrator Bola Akande presented a budget draft to the Brentwood Ways and Means Committee on Nov. 10. In 2012, the city projects $15.3 million in revenues and $15 million in expenses. The numbers increased compared to 2011 and 2010.
|2010 (actual)||2011 (projected)||2012 (projected)|
|Revenues (in millions)||$15.3||$14.6||$15.3|
|Expenses (in millions)||$14.2||$14.4||$15|
The city expects an increase in sales tax revenue because of new retailers and restaurants in Brentwood, Akande said. Sales taxes account for 40 percent of the city's revenue.
Business license fees are also expected to jump, as the city projects Drury Development Corporation to break ground on a new hotel at the corner of Eager Road and Brentwood Boulevard.
Budgeted personnel costs in Brentwood
Personnel costs, which account for 73 percent of the city's budget, are projected to increase by about $120,000 in 2012.
The city expects a 7.5 percent increase in health care premiums and 3 percent increase in dental premiums, the budget notes.
Personnel costs include salaries, benefits and overtime for full-time and part-time employees. They also include holiday pay for public safety officers and longevity and attendance incentives for all employees.
Longevity pay is automatically paid to employees based on years of service, notes the city's employee manual. For employees who work six to 15 years, for example, they receive $6.25 per month in longevity pay.
Attendance incentives are given to employees with perfect attendance each year. Employees who don't miss work are paid $50 for every quarter of perfect attendance. They're given an additional $200 if attendance is perfect throughout the year.
It was created to encourage employees who had already accrued their maximum 120 days of sick leave days—which are paid out at the end of service—to continue perfect attendance, said Karen Mosby, the city's finance officer, during the meeting.
If a 1 percent merit increase is approved by the Brentwood Board of Aldermen for city employees, then personnel costs will increase by another $60,000.
This year is the first Brentwood has created a line-item budget, making it difficult to compare each department's personnel costs to previous years. While employee benefits are separated into their respective department's budgets in 2012, for example, all benefits were lumped into one section in previous budgets.
Notes from the proposed budget
Other expenses planned in the 2012 budget:
- A finance director, to be paid between $75,000 and $90,000.
- Six new computers.
- A new ambulance, two new police cars and a vehicle for the city administrator.
- A replacement dump and plow truck for the Public Works Department.
- New gear and rescue tools for the fire department.
- An increase in overtime pay by $10,000 for the Brentwood Fire Department. That's because the department is operating with two vacant positions following the recent retirements, Chief Ted Jury said. The hiring process is moving slowly because the department previously lacked an established hiring procedure, which Jury is in the process of creating. Jury expects to fill the vacancies in March 2012.
Potential budget changes in the police department
A few edits are expected in the budget, however. During the Nov. 10 meeting, Steve Disbennett, chief of the Brentwood Police Department, requested additional funding to pay for a second, full-time traffic officer.
The officer would monitor street traffic to ensure drivers halt at stop signs and stay under the speed limit. The position would require about $75,000 in funding for salary and benefits, Disbennett said.
Disbennett stood before the committee and called for more funding for his department. He pointed to vacant positions in the public works and fire departments that are slated for funding in 2012, then said his department should see its vacancies filled too.
"I don't think it's right," he said.
Akande didn't include the position in her budget draft because of a lack of money, she said.
The position had been budgeted for previous years, and was expected to gain funding through red-light camera citations, Disbennett said, but the city only receives about $7,000 per year for camera violations.
Ward 1 Alderwoman Barb Clements, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, moved to pay for the position with the city's reserve funds. The motion died, as Ward 4 Alderman Tom Kramer said he'd prefer to leave the reserves untouched.
Committee members eventually asked Akande to find the funding within the existing budget before the final draft is approved.
The police department gets the largest slice of the 2012 budget at 21 percent.
A final budget will be presented during the Board of Aldermen meeting on Dec. 5, Akande said. The board is expected to take its final vote during that meeting. A hearing for public comment is scheduled before the vote.
A copy of the proposed budget is available in the Brentwood Public Library.