At last night’s Ann Arbor City Council meeting, City Administrator Steven Powers presented the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year which starts July 1.
In his address, Powers said he believes the proposed 2013 budget suggests that Ann Arbor’s fiscal crisis is over.
“In 2010, 2011, 2012, Ann Arbor managed through a fiscal crisis,” Powers said. “In 2013, I believe we’re through that crisis, and we are able to go back to sustaining our future.”
Powers stressed that the budget was balanced with recurring expenditures and revenues.
“It recognizes and funds long-term liability, it identifies and actually benefits from collaborative opportunities that Ann Arbor has achieved and it invests in safe and reliable infrastructure,” Powers said.
Powers said Ann Arbor will have a surplus of funds if the proposed budget is successful.
“After incorporating the settlement of labor contracts, incorporating the police recruit program and funding a high-speed inner city rail grant match, this recommended budget is a modest surplus of $300,000,” Powers said.
Powers added that the proposed budget will save jobs at the Ann Arbor Police Department, which had planned to lay off nine officers in fiscal year 2013.
“Instead, we are retaining those nine officers and adding one full-time equivalent and adding the police recruit program, the five part-time positions for cost in expense to the budget of $1.2 million,” Powers said.
The additional funds to the AAPD originate from savings gained through a contract with Washtenaw County for emergency dispatch services, Powers said, which bolstered a net $624,000 in savings.
According to Powers, the proposed budget will also preserve jobs at the Ann Arbor Fire Department, and recommends that the department increase the revenue it collects from fire inspection services to prevent layoffs and maintain current staffing levels.
“The staffing levels for Fire will be 82, rather than going down to a planned number of 78,” Powers said.
Powers said proposed changes to Ann Arbor Parks, including fewer days when the grass is mowed and the establishment of a park ranger program, should also cut costs.
Powers credited Council for persevering through the city’s budget troubles and commended the city of Ann Arbor’s employees.
“A talented and dedicated workforce has enabled Ann Arbor to navigate through this challenging time, not only navigate, but succeed,” Powers said.
Powers said there is no town hall meeting planned about the proposed budget, but he plans to host an interactive online meeting with residents on May 7.
Ultimately, despite the increase in Ann Arbor’s economic stability, Powers said the financial future remains uncertain and said he advises caution.
“We are still cautious; an uncertain future … in Lansing could cause the forecast to change,” Powers said. “I am recommending extending restraint and prudent financial policies.”