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Latest Update on 2021/22 Municipal Budget

At the July 19, 2022 City Council meeting, City Manager Steve Buck gave an update on the 2021/22 budget, which will close at the end of this month, and the projected year-end reserves. Since his previous update in June (see this story), the financial picture for the current year’s municipal budget has gotten even more optimistic.

Some accounts went over budget, most notably the line item for overtime in the Sanford Regional Communications Center (dispatch) and legal services. The total overages added up to $234,897. However, other accounts were significantly under budget, in particular the line item for wages in the Department of Public Works, which has been chronically understaffed. The total of accounts that have a surplus equals $819,484. When the overages are subtracted from the surpluses, it leaves a balance in the expenditure accounts of $584,587.

The revenue accounts as a whole did even better than projected. While a few accounts (cable franchise fees and PAYT) had a loss, all others will meet or exceed projections by the end of the fiscal year. Revenue sharing from the state, ambulance fees, building permits and vacant building licenses are some of the accounts that exceeded projections for revenue. Mr. Buck said by the end of the month, he expects total revenues to exceed projections by more than $1.1 million.

When combined with the balance in the expenditure accounts, that puts the total operations budget in the black by more than $1.7 million. He pointed out that the current municipal budget also has $270,611 in overlay and over $1 million in undesignated fund balance, which did not need to be used, making the total projected fund balance over $3 million. While it’s too late to use these funds to offset this year’s net taxation, they will be available to help balance the budget in future years.

Based on these projections, he recommended the Council create a special revenue account to set aside funds for three specific items in the 2022/23 fiscal year.

  • $31,835 to convert a Human Resources Generalist position from part time to full time. This includes the additional salary as well as insurance and benefits. Mr. Buck said the extra work load related to hiring has made this necessary.
  • $236,000 to put in reserve for fuel, propane, gasoline and diesel, which was initially budgeted when prices were much lower. If the price should drop significantly and all of these funds aren’t needed, they would stay in reserve to buffer against future price increases.
  • $80,334 to cover costs associated with training existing Fire Department personnel to be trained as paramedics. Mr. Buck said a number of the certified paramedics in the Department are retiring, leaving it critically short of staff with these more advanced life support skills.

The Council voted unanimously to accept the update and create the special revenue account for those three items.

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