capital improvements plan
The city has shifted millions since 2010 from the capital budget to the general fund to keep it in the black and to fund the salaries of police and fire personnel — the fund’s biggest expense.
In November, 2016, Mayor Hicks-Hudson said she would have to transfer $11.5 million in 2017 out of the city's capital budget into the general fund for 2017 costs. The mayor's last-minute budget amendments also reduced the 2017 capital improvement transfer from $11.5 million to $11,067,300.
Mayor Hicks-Hudson stressed the city's general fund would not have a surplus since it is balanced again this year by transferring millions from the city capital improvement fund. All three mayoral candidates have committed to reducing or stopping that transfer, which would free up more money for road repair. The 2017 general fund budget requires $11,067,300 be taken from the capital improvement fund.
The mayor budgeted $2.3 million from fines this year generated by handheld speed cameras, but it collected $1,377,640 by the end of April. The city will collect more than $4.1 million by the end of 2017 if the same numbers of speeders are nailed with those tickets monthly.
Finance Director George Sarantou also refused to call the money a general fund surplus since the city took millions from its capital improvement fund to pay for daily operations.
"Once we have a final number, the mayor wants to do more residential street repaving," Mr. Sarantou said.
The city budgeted $7 million for residential street repaving this year, up from zero last year.
Mr. Sarantou said the city could have millions or so more than expected in part because of the improving economy that has increased the payroll tax collections and the other factors. The city expects $173.65 million this year from the 2.25 percent income tax. The city had $52,733,860 by the end of April, the most recent figures available.
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