BY SARAH STEPHENS
October 22, the Millbrook Council will vote on whether or not to accept a proposed $15.7 Million budget for operations through the next fiscal year. That vote will take place at the regular city council meeting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Courtroom.
This marks a significant estimated $750,000 increase over the 2019 budget and includes a five percent Merit raise for all employees. It also allows for the city to cover a five percent increase for insurance coverage from the provider, rather than passing that expense on to employees.
“I want to thank all of our staff for many long hours of working on this proposed budget,” Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley said during a recent work session of the City Council. “Gina Williams, our Chief Financial Officer, has spent so much time on this. Our Department Heads have done a tremendous job on monitoring expenses over the years, and our city is in fantastic financial shape thanks to everyone’s efforts. The money is there for us to continue improvements in many areas.”
If the budget is approved as it stands on Oct. 22, it includes a final 911 payment to cover new software for the Millbrook Police Department. It also includes the purchase of 30 new body cameras for patrol officers. It allows for the hiring of two new officers to add to the current 33 police officers in patrol and supervisory positions. One of those would be dedicated to the Detective’s Division, and the other to Patrol.
Mayor Kelley said he is working with Chief Johnson to look at other areas for improvement of services within the department that expands the ability on investigations, patrol and narcotics investigations.
The budget also includes a shift differential pay schedule for dispatch, the Warrant Team, Motorcycle Division and SWAT Team. It includes the addition of GPS devices for all police cars. This will allow for 24-hour monitoring that can track all units at any time.
“This covers a lot of things, but it helps us be able to know where all of our officers are in the event of an emergency, and it is definitely a safety issue for our officers,” Mayor Kelley said.
For the Fire Department, the proposed budget allows hazard duty pay for employees which would be a new element never seen before.
Improvements will also come for the Court Department, with modifications to the current office to better utilize the area, as well as enhance security.
The budget includes additional funding for improvements to the library. The funding includes moving a part time position to a full time position and also additional funding for more computer access for citizens.
See a breakdown of proposed budget revenue and expenditures for all departments further down in the article. A copy of the proposed budget is available for viewing at City Hall.
“I am very happy with this proposed budget, because for the 25th year in a row, all employees are getting a raise,” Mayor Kelley said. “We want to continue to take care of and keep the trust of our residents and take care of our employees. The fact that the budget is so strong and makes sure this city is well taken care of, is credit to all of our employees. We are going to continue to take care of the city and the taxpayers. This proposed budget also includes a surplus.”
When Mayor Kelley took office in 1996, the budget for the entire city was just over $1 million. For a city that was just officially established in 1977, the amount of growth in that time has been substantial, both in population, revenue and expenditures.
“We aren’t a sleepy little town anymore, certainly not the one I grew up in for sure,” Mayor Kelley said. “We have been very conservative, and it shows in the financial status of our city.”
While the city can plan for projected expenditures, the surplus covers the unexpected.
“Something to think about, when you are asking what kind of shape the city is in is really simple,” Mayor Kelley said. “If every single revenue source was cut off tomorrow, our city could survive for almost a year without a break in services.”
But he doesn’t see that happening, as recent economic development announcements are moving forward and more are expected, he said.
General Breakdown of Proposed Budget through the fiscal year 2020:
Police Department – $3.5 million.
Total Debt Service/Administrative costs – $3.9 million.
City Council – $69,375.
Court Department – $677,050.
Fire Department – $1.3 million.
Building Department – $171,300.
Library – $232,800.
Economic Development – $222,730.
Parks and Recreation – $700,510.
Girls Softball – $76,250.
Dixie Youth – $156,200.
Street Department – $630,700.
Net increase in General Fund over last year – $650,382.
Total General Fund Expenditures – $11,698,218.
Projected Revenue in General Fund – $12,348,600.
The Pines Golf Course Budget
Projected Revenue – $594,600.
Proposed Expenditures – $634,505.
Utilities Department –
Proposed Revenue – $2,331,700.
Projected Expenses – $2,160,900.