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Revenue projections reviewed by committee

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City Manager Joe Neeb presents the city of Roswell’s possible personnel changes for fiscal year 2020 to the Roswell Finance Committee on Tuesday morning. Pictured from left are City Councilor Caleb Grant, Finance Director Monica Garcia and Councilor Judy Stubbs in the large conference room at Roswell City Hall. (Alison Penn Photo)

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Revenue projections for the upcoming fiscal year 2020 for the city of Roswell were discussed by committee.

City councilors Caleb Grant, Steve Henderson, Jacob Roebuck and Judy Stubbs reviewed revenue projections and discussed personnel and project preparation at a Finance Committee special meeting on Tuesday.

The committee held its regular meeting on Feb. 7, but the revenue projections were not ready at that time. The city’s fiscal year — currently FY19 — ends June 30 and FY20 begins July 1.

To determine the projections, Finance Director Monica Garcia said the city used a three-year average. City Manager Joe Neeb said the other variable is whether the projection has an upward or downward trend.

For the total fund revenue, Garcia explained that the city budgeted $77 million and the projection for FY 19 is $85,879,714.

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In the next steps, Garcia said the finance department will be meeting with departments about grants and work with Director Juanita Jennings along with the Public Affairs department and Spectra, the venue management company, about the revenue at Roswell Convention & Civic Center.

Garcia said $36,715,919 is the projected revenue for FY19 in the city’s general fund — compared to the actuals $42,362,638 from FY18 and $35,147,744 in FY17. She also said the city budgeted $38,282,000 for FY19.

Revenues from city water sales and services are also expected to increase within the fiscal year now that the $20 million smart water-meter project is in its final stages. Garcia also listed the water revenue projection for FY19 is $9,650,420. The actuals were $8,620,152 for FY18 and $8,241,348 for FY17. Garcia added there is a $1 million revenue guarantee as provided for in the contract for the smart meters. At this time, Garcia said the city budgeted $9.1 million in FY19 and is projecting a “pretty good spike” at $9.6 million. Garcia said revenue has been steady and in other busy months garnered over $1 million.

City Manager Joe Neeb also said looking into the water situation at the Roswell International Air Center that the city may have an audit for the facility by June.

Neeb said the city has 539 full-time equivalent (FTE) personnel, 66 vacant positions, 14 contracted positions and 25 internship opportunities. For the vacant positions, Neeb said the city is examining if those positions could be closed and different or combined positions could be created based on a human resources report. A recreation manager is a position the city is looking to fill since a recent retirement, Neeb said, and he also pointed out the aiport has several vacancies. Councilors brought up lack of staffing at the Spring River Park & Zoo and South Park Cemetery.

Grant also asked about budgeting in regard to the city’s compensation plan and cost-of-living adjustment. Neeb explained there would be a 4.8 percent adjustment in the salaries — 2.8 for the cost-of-living adjustment and 2 percent step for current positions. For the city departments, Neeb said the budgets will be held at 2 percent. Neeb said the city is attempting to “stabilize” and “standardize” the process with the three unions.

With capital projects, Neeb said the city is looking into a higher threshold, $100,000 instead of $10,000 for purchasing. Bill Morris, community development director, said the projects are one section of the infrastructure capital improvement list (ICIP) and the funding is the following phase.

Neeb said the city is still using priority-based budgeting in order to identify which projects the city wants to tackle. Councilor Stubbs showed support for the city pursuing “shovel-ready” projects.

Councilor Roebuck also shared ideas to create better transparency in the city’s budget. He created a plan where departments would first prioritize their projects with funding information, then the committee reviews and debates projects. In the second step, Roebuck explained the Finance Committee would review the funding within the budget to make recommendations whether or not to allocate funds such as grants, bonds etc. and semi-restricted funding such as lodgers’ tax and finally unrestricted funding. In the final step, council could change, approve or reject finance’s recommendations.

After the presentation, Councilor Grant said the city is already using priority-based budgeting and is transferring from such a manual process, referring the in-progress Tyler software update.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.