At the City’s first Business Plan workshop held on July 1, the City Manager presented a financial strategy for combating the challenges of property tax reform, economic recession and inflation. The public is invited to attend a second business plan workshop on July 22 at 5 p.m., where proposed new initiatives and capital improvement projects will be reviewed. The workshop will also be televised on CityTV Channel 25 on Advanced Cable Communications.
Despite the severe economic climate, the City is able to balance the Fiscal Year 2009 budget without a tax increase. “Our residents will actually enjoy significant savings,” said City Manager Michael S. Levinson.
While there will be increases in most user fees and the fire and solid waste assessment, these increases will be relatively modest, reflecting the impact of inflation. Most importantly for residents and businesses, there will be no significant service cuts.
How was the City able to balance the budget without a tax increase or service cuts? Essentially because staff “saw the lion before it came over the hill,” as Commissioner Claudette Bruck noted at the July 1 workshop. Sound financial management allowed the City to plan for both phases of tax reform last year and cushion an economic blow that has taken a toll on cities throughout Florida.
“We focus on running lean and working smarter,” said Levinson. This methodology will help lay the groundwork for Fiscal Year 2010, which the City is predicting to be even more challenging than 2009.
The Business Plan workshops are an important part of the City’s budget process because they allow the City Commission to discuss potential changes in service levels and address long-term needs of the City. The workshops also highlight the next fiscal year’s proposed new initiatives and major capital projects, which are consistent with customer needs and expectations as well as the City’s Strategic Plan. For Fiscal Year 2009, some of the major initiatives to be reviewed include the creation of a Regional Emergency Communications Center, the City’s efforts to assist homeowners facing foreclosures, a comprehensive effort to support local businesses, and the numerous eco-conscious efforts the City is undertaking as part of its goal to “go green.”
While Levinson underscored that this is “no time to let our guard down,” he noted that prudent choices now will help the City meet future revenue challenges while continuing the customer focus and data-driven decisions that are Coral Springs hallmarks.
Important Upcoming Dates
September 12 and September 16, 2008: The City’s two public budget hearings are tentatively scheduled for 5:15 PM on both dates. The Fiscal Year 2009 millage and assessment rates will be officially adopted at this time.