One of the most challenging things about running a city is you always have to be looking ahead. Nowhere is that truer than in our budget process. Our fiscal year begins each July 1. Yet each January, our Tucker staff begin planning out their budgets for the following year. In February, department heads sit down with our City Manager to think through their future needs, both for operational expenses to provide the level of service you expect, and for capital improvements and projects around the City. By March, those preliminary budget numbers have made their way to the City Council and me. And, after a ton of work and meetings by all parties throughout the month of April, we finally pass a budget; yes, with two months still to go in the current fiscal year.
We just finished this process for Fiscal Year ’20 and I expect you’ll be happy with the results. As required by our charter, this is a balanced budget. That means we’ll only spend as much money as we’re projecting to take in. For the upcoming year, that number comes out to about $13.7 million. Of that, about $8.7 million goes to operating the city, and $5 million goes to capital projects. That money is going to help us improve upon some of the things we’re already doing, while expanding upon others, like funding our new Trail Plan, sidewalks, road resurfacing and so on. Of note, we’re adding staff within our Parks and Recreation Department. This includes two part-time positions who will be responsible for assisting the public and monitoring activities in the parks. Our Parks and Rec Director has more to say about the impact that’s going to make on page 15.
We’re also allocating funds to hire our first Finance Director. This is a senior-level person who will help us establish our credit rating, prepare for our annual audit and budget processes, solidify our business licensing, and give us expert guidance on how to invest the City’s reserve fund.
The $13.7 million budget is going to supplemented by an additional $4.9 million in anticipated SPLOST revenue from the extra penny sales tax. Eighty five percent of that money is required to be invested in road improvements and multimodal transportation like sidewalks and trails. The balance is more discretionary, and can be used for things like capital improvements to our parks, including new parking, restrooms and so on. You can be sure this money will be put to good use, as we will always have more needs than we have money.
So that’s a taste of our financial future. But don’t forget, there’s a lot to be excited about in the present. From Tucker Day to graduations and the Summer of Fun, it’s a great time to be in Tucker.