On June 19 the City Council vote 12 to 4 to approve my proposed annual city operating budget, our fourth consecutive balanced budget without employee layoffs.
There are no layoffs of police, fire or municipal workers. To the contrary, the budget funds five police cadet classes of 70 cadets per class.
The city’s leading expense is for police and fire department payroll and relate costs, maintaining public safety as the city’s prime function and public service.
The $2.5 billion general fund budget fully funds the three employee pension systems, maintains a healthy fund balance in case of emergencies and includes contingency funds for pay raises and hurricane preparedness.
This is a forward-looking budget that upholds the people’s priorities – public safety, financial integrity, commitment to street repairs and drainage and enhancing our quality of life. Simply put, it sets the foundation to meet the essential needs of a thriving city without excess or waste.
To balance the budget and comply with the property tax cap voters approved in 2004, I cut another $11.1 million in city department spending — the fourth consecutive year in which I trimmed municipal government costs.
The pension reform I brokered and which voters approved is saving the city billions of dollars and avoided an even larger annual budget gap.
The budget does not rely on selling city land or deferring any payments, which were balancing techniques used in the past.
It also commits to utilizing zero based budgeting for the next budgetary cycle.
I thank the council for its vote.