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


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.