2014 budget increases $2.6M

City of Westfield  2013 Budget Introduction

Officials introduced the estimated $30.3 million budget for 2014 at the Westfield City Council meeting on Sept. 9. Chief of Staff Todd Burtron said the 2013 approved budget is $27,748,115 and the 2014 proposed budget is $30,373,867 – a change of $2,625,752 million.

Burtron said the city is seeing growth with citizens and businesses, but must wait for the economic impact of upcoming projects from the record number of building permits the city has approved this year.

“The growth we see today, the revenue from that is 18 to 24 months away. That creates pressure,” Burtron said.

According to Burtron, here is the budget brass tax:

■ Timetable: The budget was introduced to the Westfield City Council on Sept. 9 and will be up for consideration on Oct. 28. A public hearing on the budget will take place on Oct. 14.

■ Property tax impacted funds: Property taxes make up 50 percent ($15 million) of the $30.3 million in revenues for 2014.

“We operate with $15 million of property taxes with $3.9 million uncollectable. Its value inside the community we cannot spend because of property tax caps,” Burtron said.

County Option Income Tax is $8.7 million (28 percent) and miscellaneous revenue is $6.6 million (22 percent). Miscellaneous revenues come from food and beverage, building permits, excise taxes, cigarette tax, motor vehicle highway, local road and street and ambulance fees.

■ The largest portion of the General Fund is public safety, which makes up 64 percent of the fund. The fund is split by the fire department (36 percent) and police department (28 percent). Burtron said expenses are up 25 percent from 2013 for dispatch services.

■ 2014 operational expense assumptions include increases from 2013 with police and fire dispatch services (25 percent), animal control (5 percent), electricity (8 percent) and property and casualty insurance (6 percent).

■ Personnel expense assumptions include increases with health insurance (12 percent), PERF (3 percent) and worker’s compensation (8 percent). Burtron said there will be no raises with the exception of promotions and longevity. The city also will not hire any new positions with the exception of two police officers.

“The police department has added no new positions in five years,” Burtron said, adding those new officers would be hired in January.

■ The advertised tax rate is $0.8424 per $100 of assessed value. Burtron said that the tax rate, like the budget, is advertised high and will be lower.