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."
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
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
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.