CRESTVIEW — City department heads have submitted their respective 2013-14 preliminary budgets but city leaders say they still must trim upward of $1.1 million.


Updated 8/18/2013, 3:34 p.m.



CRESTVIEW — City department heads have submitted their respective 2013-14 preliminary budgets but city leaders say they still must trim upward of $1.1 million.



City Clerk Betsy Roy said she and Finance Director Patti Beebe have been working with the department heads to submit a balanced budget, but "unfortunately, we're not there yet."



Though the city council agreed to set a higher tentative millage rate for creating the next fiscal year's budget, members at Wednesday's workshop expressed keeping the rate as is.



Under the tentative millage of 5.8466, and with the budgets as submitted, the general fund deficit would be $906,000. Under the current millage of 5.5966, the deficit would be an estimated $1.1 million.



Council members made budget-reduction suggestions including:



•Closing the library and parks an extra day each week



•Reducing city employees workweeks to 32 hours



•Using Community Redevelopment Agency funds, not general fund money, for Twin Hills Park operations and police patrol services in the CRA district



•Hiring a city purchasing agent and grant writer



•Establishing better control of city assets.



Among the suggestions was reducing Fire Station 3's staff or possibly closing that fire station.



With talk of increased county, school and gas taxes, the last thing Crestview residents need is an increase in their property taxes coupled with a loss of services, Council President Robyn Helt said.



"I am not for an increase in the citizens' millage rate, period," she said. "I don't care what we have to do. The citizens are not going to continue to pay for the government to do its job inefficiently."



Helt said it is up to department heads to trim their own budgets.



Department heads expressed willingness to collaborate to produce a balanced budget, but acknowledged that after years of trimming, there's little left to cut.



"Things are going to have to be spoken about frankly and deliberately," Fire Chief Joe Traylor said. "Now we know where we need to go and we'll get there."



...



Draft budgets



Preliminary budgets were submitted Wednesday for the 2013-14 fiscal year starting Oct. 1. These budgets will be revised and adjusted during upcoming budget workshops.



 



Department                              2012            2013



GENERAL FUND



Mayor's Office                        $91,979       $94,446



City Clerk                                $236,763     $170,306



Finance Department                (new)           $306,110



General Administrative           $1,078,556  $938,208



Administrative Services          $649,199     (eliminated)



Planning & Zoning                  (new)           $334,362



Permitting                                (new)           $276,652



Public Works                          $403,105     $394,320



Fleet Maintenance                   $156,259     $156,869



Police Department                   $4,279,308  $4,358,527



Fire Department                      $3,846,306  $3,892,750



Parks & Recreation                 $486,730     $399,969



Streets                                     $1,418,391  $1,424,842



Library                                    $660,979     $656,640



Code Enforcement                   (new)           $74,957



Community Center                  $34,425       $30,137



Building Facilities                   $764,611     $895,309



 



UTILITY FUND



General Administrative           $3,845,893  $2,211,279



Public Services                        $405,960     $395,117



Customer Service                    $601,493     $359,491



Water Department                   $923,334     $1,321,957



Sewer Department                   $212,163     $258,330



Wastewater Treatment             $922,936     $970,395



Maintenance                            $895,218     $943,934



Storm water                             $302,190     $331,477        



Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article said Councilmen Thomas Gordon and Mickey Rytman offered a list of budget-reduction suggestions. Although Gordon and Rytman made suggestions, it's important to clarify who said what. Rytman did not suggest reducing city workers' hours to 32 per week. This version of the article simply offers the suggestions, which are not formal proposals.