Mayor Louise Carter-King signs an official proclamation Tuesday designating June as National Safety Month. Also pictured: Carole Boughton, WMSC Business Development and PR Director; Crystal Volk, WMSC Board Member; Randy Milliron, City of Gillette Safety Manager; Amy Thomas, WMSC Executive Director. (H/t Geno Palazzari, City of Gillette)
Mayor Louise Carter-King and the Gillette City Council unanimously approved the first reading of the city’s nearly $150 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Spaced six feet apart, in accordance with Governor Mark Gordon’s public health orders and the recommendations of public health officials across the state and nation, the council heard the first of three consecutive weekly readings of the City of Gillette Budget for FY 2020-2021.
City Administrator Patrick Davidson said of the proposed budget of $148,420,100 that the amount was not what was initially planned, but that city staff believe it’s a “solid, fiscally responsible budget” that would allow for much-needed flexibility.
The first reading of the proposed budget was approved with all council members in favor and without any members of the public commenting during the public hearing.
The projected revenues for the city’s General Fund total $32,191,565, a reduction of $14,741,126 from the FY2019-2020 budget. Because of the uncertainty related to the local economy and COVID-19, staff calculated general fund revenues based upon the lowest receipt month seen by the city in the past four years, and then annualized that amount. In past years, staff have used the average of the six lowest months from the previous fiscal year.
With regard to utilities (which are enterprise accounts – meaning that they should have enough income charged for the utility provided to meet all of their expenses, including the cost of the utility (e.g. pumping the water), depreciation, capital maintenance, etc.), the budget proposed and approved on first reading the Council’s past practice of subsidizing some of the enterprise accounts with Optional 1% Tax monies to help keep utility prices low.
For the coming fiscal year, staff estimated Optional 1% Tax receipts at $14.85 million. Of that total, $965,250 will be utilized for funding social service agencies. The council added two new recipients for the upcoming fiscal year, including $5,000 for the Edible Prairie Project and $25,000 for the Salvation Army. Council also approved increases to the Council of Community Services (an increase of $45,000), and Gillette Abuse Refuge Foundation (an increase of $5,000).
The budget also, for the first time, transfers the city’s expenses related to the Campbell County Joint Powers Fire Board (a partnership between the City of Gillette, Town of Wright, and Campbell County) to the Optional 1% Tax budget. The city’s share of the fire board’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $2,882,601.
For its general fund reserves, the city has operation reserves of $14.17 million set aside. This is consistent with an increase in reserves to 150 days of operations as was approved by the council effective September 4, 2018.
“Last year, the total proposed/approved budget was $150,407,806,” Geno Palazzari, communications manager for the City of Gillette, told County 17 by email Thursday. “This [year’s] budget is quite a bit lower [than years with major Madison construction] but it includes revenue from the $20MM loan we are requesting from SLIB. Subtract that and we are around $126MM. We are expecting a $14.7MM reduction in General Fund revenues this year.”