The Town Council gave approval for its $32.5 million budget for the 2019/2020 fiscal year at its regular session on Tuesday, June 4.
Finance Director David Pock presented the overall budget plan that was approved as the tentative budget in May.
The budget is highlighted by staffing, as there is a raise for town employees and the addition of new positions in the plan.
At the council’s urging, staff added the wage increase for town employees. With this budget, town workers will receive a total 3.5 percent wage hike over the next fiscal year. That will come as a 2 percent increase with the start of the new fiscal year in July and the additional 1.5 percent will be added with the beginning of the new calendar year in January 2020.
The budget proposal also includes an increase in staffing from 56 full-time-equivalents to 61 for the new fiscal year.
Staff budget requests include the addition of a senior building inspector, code enforcement officer, procurement officer, streets technician and a part-time accounting clerk.
Costs related to the building inspector would be offset by elimination of a third-party inspection contract. Some of the other new staff would have expenditure offsets to cover costs.
Public safety costs make up roughly one half of the town’s operating budget with its contracts with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Rural/Metro Corp.
The two contracts total nearly $9 million with $4.7 million to MCSO and just over $4 million to Rural/Metro. Both have annual increases written into their contracts.
In the public hearing for the budget plan resident Frank Dolittle said he does not think the town is getting its money’s worth in the $4 million contract to MCSO .
“There’s no enforcement,” Dolittle said. “I could run a police department on a third of that and do a heck of a lot better job.”
The capital projects plan for the year has a budget of $3,197,250.
The planned capital work includes enhancements to Golden Eagle Park drainage to mitigate future flooding, sidewalk infill projects and several other projects related to drainage and storm water. Improvements at Four Peaks Park are included as well as a building at the street maintenance yard. Money is also included for preliminary planning and design work for other street improvements.
The council gave unanimous approval to the plan, which has been under discussion since soon after the start of the new year.
A revenue proposal that includes a sales tax increase as well as initiating a public safety fee will be brought to the council in August. The plan to have the council take up the new revenue at its next meeting on June 18 was postponed to assure adequate time for public notice and legal posting.
The council has proposed a sales tax increase of .3 percent and an annual public safety fee of $185.