The City Commission on Tuesday approved an amendment to the fiscal year 2019 budget, which keeps all Transit services, and reinstates some proposed reductions to Fire and Police.
The amendment affects the current city general fund budget, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.
The need for the amendment stems from a $2.4 million revenue shortfall, related to an unexpected decrease in the personal property tax reimbursement Battle Creek receives from the state.
Following the budget workshop on Jan. 24, the commission asked for the amendment to reflect the second of three proposed options to make up the shortfall. This option, which was recommended by the city administration, accepted reduction proposals from city departments, but restored proposed job and hour reductions, and reduced the impact to Transit.
Using the city commission and public comments at the workshop as a guide, city officials updated that option to reflect no change to Transit services. Buses and Tele-Transit service will continue to operate the same, with no fare changes. However, staff plan to continue work on a more sustainable plan for Transit for the next budget year and beyond.
The amendment also reinstated the amounts the Fire and Police departments proposed to cut over their target reduction amounts. For Fire, that reinstates $47,956 to be used toward turnout gear. For Police, it reinstates $101,623 to be used toward the downtown officer position, special unit assignments, and training.
With those changes, the amendment includes using $409,344 of the city’s fund balance, an unassigned “rainy day fund.”
“It is important to note that the use of fund balance is not sustainable, and we will prepare our fiscal year 2020 budget request without it,” said City Manager Rebecca Fleury. “We heard clearly that our Transit services are important to the City Commission and our neighbors - as well as Fire and Police services.
“We appreciate the time and input given by our neighbors, the City Commission, and our city team to this process. We know it will require ongoing teamwork to accomplish a balanced budget going forward, keeping in mind the reimbursement decreases from the state.”
City officials encourage neighbors to join the discussion as we begin the fiscal year 2020 budget process. Workshops are set tentatively for May, with more information coming as we confirm the dates.
A recording of the Jan. 24 budget workshop is available at the AccessVision website, accessvision.tv. It is in the On Demand section, “BCWorkshop012419” or by direct link at http://accessvision.tv/file/15274.
More budget information is available on the city’s website, battlecreekmi.gov. Navigate to the Your Government tab, Finance, and Budget. An easier-to-read version of the city’s budget is the FY 2019 Budget Brochure, available on that page, or by direct link here: http://battlecreekmi.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5028/FY-2019-Budget-Brochure.