May 10, 2016

MEMO TO: Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM: Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT: Presentation – FY 16-17 Recommended Budget

The FY 16-17 Recommended Budget is complete and will be formally presented to the Board and the public at the May 10 regular meeting.  In an effort to better educate the Board and the public about the Town’s budget, I will make a detailed presentation summarizing the FY 16-17 Recommended Budget, and will provide handouts for the public at the May 10 meeting. 

I have attached a copy of the “Budget Message”, which provides a comprehensive discussion of the issues associated with the FY 16-17 budget.  A “Quick Summary”, “All Funds (Summary)”, “General Fund Budget Summary”, and other materials are also attached.  The full budget document will be provided to you under separate cover. 

The total FY 16-17 Recommended Budget is $9,445,387, a $178,448, or 1.9% increase from the adopted FY 15-16 budget.  The General Fund is the largest component of the Town’s budget, with total expenditures of $9,076,200, which is a $173,765, or 1.9% increase from the adopted current year budget.  The Future Beach Nourishment Fund budget is $679,187, which includes a $400,000 transfer from the General Fund, with the full amount reserved for future beach nourishment activities.  Recommended appropriations are also included for the Half-Marathon Fund ($90,000).

In accordance with the Board’s top budget priority, I am pleased to report that the Recommended Budget includes no increase in property tax rates or any fees.  The recommended General Fund tax rate for FY 16-17 is unchanged at 15.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, with 14 cents allocated for general services and 1.5 cents specifically earmarked for beach nourishment.  The recommended Primary Benefit District (oceanfront and inlet-front properties only; for beach nourishment) property tax rate would remain at 4 cents, and this rate, along with the $400,000 transfer from the General Fund, will enable the Town to reserve the historical annual amount for future beach nourishment activities.  There is also no change in the Town’s annual solid waste fee, and this fee would remain at $228 for all developed residential properties, which equates to $19 per month for all Town solid waste services (trash, recycling, yard debris collection, beach strand collection, and more). 

The FY 16-17 Recommended Budget includes sufficient resources to enable Town staff to maintain the high service quality expectations of our residents and visitors, and includes funding to compensate Town employees fairly, replace necessary vehicles and capital equipment, meet inflationary and other service demand pressures, and enhance staff capabilities.  The Recommended Budget includes a few notable service enhancements, including funding for a new Community Resources Officer in the Police Department (to coordinate EIPD’s various community programs, including the Neighborhood Watch program), additional coverage on the beach strand and improved supervision of the Fire Department’s lifeguard program, and funding to enable EI EMS, Inc. to transition to the use of all full-time employees for scheduled shifts, among others. The Recommended Budget also includes $120,000 for the construction of a new storm water pump station to serve the Osprey Ridge neighborhood (the Board’s other top priority), and $70,000 for the construction of an additional bicycle path segment along Bogue Inlet Drive to link the pier with the “downtown” area.

Overall, I believe the FY 16-17 Recommended Budget represents a fiscally responsible spending plan for the next year, and that it addresses the Board’s expressed priorities.  We have tentatively scheduled two special budget meetings for the Board to review and discuss the Recommended Budget.  The first one is scheduled for Thursday, May 12 at 2 pm in the Town Administration Conference Room, and Town department heads and EI EMS, Inc. will brief the Board on their respective budgets.   The second special budget meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7 at 6 pm, and will also include the legally required public hearing.  Additional budget meetings can be scheduled as necessary or desired between May 12 and June 7.  I am hopeful that the Board will formally approve the FY 16-17 budget at your regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 14 at 6 pm. 

I look forward to reviewing the Recommended Budget with you in the coming weeks.