We are a “pay as you go” city with no debt and a balanced budget. When we want to build new facilities, we save money for a few years, then spend it all at once. This makes our budget look “lumpy”. We run a surplus while we are saving money for a project, then we run a deficit when we launch that project.
Our staff was sensitive to how this looks, but I strongly support moving forward with projects that we need. So let me make sure everyone understands how the capital budget process works here. I’m sure you will see that it makes good sense.
Next year we are going to begin work the new police headquarters. Instead of starting from scratch, which would be a lot more expensive, we are buying a building near City Hall and remodeling it to work for the police and other offices.
This is a $10 million project, coming out of our $30+ million in capital improvements reserves that we have saved over the past few years. When you see the budget for 2016, it looks like our expenses are going up by $10 million. But it’s paid for out of savings, not out of new taxes. It’s good fiscal planning, but it looks frightening in years like this one.