Roanoke Rapids city department heads have made cuts following budget work sessions to bring a balanced financial plan for the upcoming fiscal year to the table.
City Manager Joseph Scherer said during Tuesday night’s council meeting he asked department heads to cut 2.6 percent from each of their budgets. “It’s a very lean budget.”
The $16,809,139 budget, which contains no tax increase and does not use fund balance, will be the subject of a public hearing at council’s June 4 meeting. That meeting is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. at Lloyd Andrews City Meeting Hall on Jackson Street.
Scherer in his budget message went over the results of the cuts department heads made.
“Because the city is a service provider, personnel costs are our greatest expenditure,” he said.
Funding is requested for 153 full-time and 68 part-time or seasonal employees. “The proposed budget does not include a cost of living or merit increase for city employees but does include a $500-$250 bonus for all full-time (and) part-time employees.”
He said funding was requested to continue the city’s longevity program and a 401k supplemental compensation program which provides matching contributions up to a maximum of 3 percent for non-law enforcement employees. “Another item provided for in the proposed budget is a 2.5 percent increase in employee health insurance premiums with no reduction in plan benefits.”
The general government and administration budget totals $4,412,576 and includes legislative, general government, administration, elections, finance, information systems, revenue collections, legal and governmental buildings departmental budgets.
Also included are the theater loan transfers and debt service funding. There is $10,000 in funding for city nuisance abatement efforts and avenue appearance improvements.
The proposed budget is $3,292,193. Small increases are proposed for additional qualification ammo, body armor and body camera replacement and maintenance.
The proposed budget is $2,045,295. The department will be able to maintain service levels for fire prevention, response and first responder activities.
The proposed budget is $4,555,206. Funding is proposed for major road improvements on Old Farm Road, supplies for the road patching machine, and increased tipping fee costs.
Parks and recreation
The proposed budget is $1,975,265. Funding is proposed to increase the cost of officials to offer additional older adult recreation leagues and required fire safety equipment upgrades and replacement at T.J. Davis and Kirkwood Adams.
The proposed budget is $528,658. Funding is proposed for one additional full-time administrative employee.
“There are other funding issues that will be part of our budgetary activities this year,” Scherer said. “For example, we have requested funding from the county tourism and visitors bureau for Canal Trail maintenance and bridge replacement along with funding to complete stage two of our wayfinding signage project. We will aggressively pursue appropriate grant opportunities as they become available, especially for neighborhood revitalization programs.”
Said Scherer: “Despite the immediate funding challenges the city of Roanoke Rapids faces, we are confident that our long-term prospects for improvement remain good. As we move forward we remain committed to providing quality services to all our citizens.”