Every department of city government will be trimming its spending in the next fiscal year based on a budget proposed by Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall.
Overall, he said the spending plan calls for roughly $12.5 million which is nearly a half-million less than the current fiscal year budget. Uncertainty about the revenue impact of business restrictions enacted to stem the spread of COVID-19 also led Duvall to include an undesignated, rainy day fund.
“I didn’t zero-out the budget,” Duvall said. “I left some money just in case, we need to figure out something the maybe the council wants to do.”
Duvall said the balance also provides a cushion in the event COVID cuts deeper into revenues than estimated. For example, he said the city typically takes in $4 million annually from its occupational taxes but this year only $3.7 million was budgeted.
The six council members have a copy of the 2021 fiscal year budget in hand and will conduct a work session today to publicly scrutinize it.
The special meeting, which begins at 9 a.m., will be the first since last fall in the council chambers on the second floor of Radcliff City Hall. The city temporarily moved the public meetings to Colvin Community Center as the council chambers were renovated, then switched to virtual meetings using conferencing software when COVID-19 restrictions prevented in-person sessions.
To ensure social distancing, the council members will not be using its shared meeting area. A series of smaller tables will occupy the floor space. Duvall said the meeting is open to the public but limited seating is available.
Duvall said the city initiated a hiring freeze on positions that became vacant in an effort to reduce spending now. Some of those decisions are extended into the plan for the new fiscal year, which opens July 1.
His forecast calls for a reduction in the salary designated for a city engineer. Duvall said he anticipates filling that job but the city at present is using contract services as needed paid on an hourly rate through the engineering firm it used while building a federally financed flood control project on the city’s south side.
The budget as proposed also protects Radcliff’s decision to set aside all money generated by a 2018 increase in the occupational tax, Duvall said. Raised from 2 to 2.25 percent, all revenue above the 2-percent threshold is designated to helping the city meet increase pension costs — estimated initially as a $1.6 million impact over four years.
Radcliff saw state money from the Municipal Road Fund decline this year. After consulting others including Judge-Executive Harry Berry, Duvall said the city budget assumes road money will be curtailed at least another 5 percent because of declining fuel tax revenues
Despite the tight budget outlook, Duvall said the city is investing in its police department.
Under a five-year lease agreement, it plans to acquire 40 new body cams plus updated software and a new generation of Tasers that record and monitor usage.