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Friday, 26 October, 2007 11:12 PM
Southgate city budget remains the same except for a few changes
With a budget of $22,720,812 and no major changes, the biggest and constant strain on Southgate is the current economic slump of the state.
According to David Angileri, the Assistant City Administrator and the Head of Finance, the only trimming made to the budget has been to the General Fund, in the form of employee cuts.
This has been an ongoing trend for Southgate to deal with.
Angileri said that the city has had to do away with 40 employees over the past 10 years.
“We are constantly having to reduce the staff over the years,” he said.
When it comes to dollars and cents, the budget has been divided the same way it has been for the last few years.
“Really, it’s [the budget] the same as it has been,” he said. “The majority of the money, about 45 percent, goes to public safety. That’s been pretty constant.”
From the Capital Outlay Fund, three police cars were purchased at a cost of $62,000. Police and Fire Civil Services, the Police Department, the Fire Department, and the Police Reserves make up $9,610,119 of the budget.
This year’s budget is very similar to last year’s because no new tax increases were made, and the rate of current spending is “about the same” as last years.
To pay for the budget, the General Fund Revenues brings in $22,072,812 in various ways. Taxes bring in $13,782,096. Licenses and Fees bring in $533,000. State Revenue Sharing brings in $3,342,600. Charges for Services accounts for $978,321. Fines and Forfeits produce $1,325,000. Interest, Rent, and Royalties bring in $783,775. Transfers-In turns out $1,310,520. To fill out the rest of the budget, miscellaneous revenues account for $17,500.
The budget itself is distributed amongst 31 separate departments. The departments that account for the most spending are: Police Department, $6,229,219; Fire Department, $3,366,050; General Government, $3,318,527; Public Services, $1,843,127; Sanitation, $1,716,073; and District Court, $1,100,869.
Also, according to Angileri, no noticeable consequences of the newly adopted budget have been identified.
With the current budget, the total millage rate is 18.6020, compared to the previous fiscal year’s millage rate of 18.8989. To break that down, for a person living in a house in Southgate, with an assessed value of $150,000, the property tax on that house would be $2,790.
The process of putting the actual budget together is as complex and intricate as the budget itself. Many different departments and people are involved in making the most efficient budget for the new fiscal year.
To start off the process, the budget is put together in the mayor’s office. This is where the collaboration begins. Many different departments give their input and have a huge impact on the outcome.
According to council member Theresa Lannen, all of the different departments are involved right at the beginning. Each department submits their proposals to the mayor. From here they then work with the city manager to fix any discrepancies.
After the different groups have had their say and have shown it to the city manager, the mayor then sends the proposal to the city council. The council then holds work-study sessions to review what has been proposed. The heads of each department attend each session, she said.
They compare the proposed budget to the budget from the previous year to “get the big picture.”
These work-studies are held on Saturday mornings and are always open to the public. This gives the public a chance to have some input before the budget is finalized, Lannen said.
The councilwoman also said that though these sessions are open to the public, citizens rarely attend because they usually are “moderately boring.”
Though the process can be tedious at times, the basic strategy of creating a successful budget is to “start at the bottom and work your way up.”
This philosophy is also instilled within the department heads, which helps to make the job a little easier and smoother. Being informed and invested in their individual department is crucial when it comes to agreeing upon a budget.
all of the department heads started out at a young age and
have worked their way up, she said.
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