Stillwater News Press

July 11, 2013

Money Talks

Stillwater officials to discuss city finances at budget fair

By Nick Woodruff
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater residents will have the opportunity to learn about the city’s budget and revenue at a walk-in budget fair at 6:30 p.m. July 22 in the Stillwater Community Center, 325 W. Eighth Ave.

The city passed its 2013-2014 budget in June. A resident asked city councilors if an informal budget presentation was scheduled during a public  budget hearing at a June City Council meeting. Later in that meeting, the City Council approved the budget. Councilors asked city staff to schedule a budget presentation in July with the intention of amending the budget if needed.

 Residents will have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with city administrators and Mayor John Bartley and city councilors Chuck Hopkins, Gina Noble, Cody Scott and Joe Weaver.

The city staff is proposing approximately $98 million in expenditures, which is an 8.65 percent increase from the previous budget.

Approximately $85.5 million of the proposed expenditure budget will go for operating expenditures, $10.1 million for capital expenditures and $2.2 million for debt service.

Even though the city wants to make the budget as clear as possible to its residents, Stillwater’s City Manager, Dan Galloway, said residents will have questions.

“We know that citizens like to attend and participate in the budget process,” Galloway said in a city of Stillwater press release. “But the vast majority of people have questions or concerns about two or three parts of the budget. Or, they want to request something in a specific department or program.”

The city makes the majority of its money through the city’s sales tax, according to the proposed fiscal year 2014 budget. The sales tax is estimated to generate approximately $26.6 million.

As for budgets, the general fund budget is approximately $54 million  — the biggest expense is the police department — approximately $11 million.  The least expensive item on the general fund budget is the city manager’s budget, which is $351,587.

Stillwater’s Chief Financial Officer Marcy Lamb, said it is the first time in three years the budget has had an ability to have capital expenditures, which are items such as police cars and equipment.

When the U.S. economy tanked in 2008, Stillwater’s revenues fell off as well. She said this budget is a “more normal.”

Lamb said the budget’s No. 1 priority is core services, which includes public safety. The city funds those areas first. Because capital spending is available, the city plans to purchase additional equipment for the core services with its capital expenditures budget.

“We look at the overall needs. No one gets more than the other,” Lamb said. “We see what we need to do for public safety and go from there.”

City employees will also see a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment in their paychecks, she said.

Capital spending and pay increases are the major differences between this budget and the 2012-2013 budget.

Stillwater Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

General fund revenue

Sales Tax                                             $26.6 million

Use Tax                                               $1 million

Other Tax                                             $2.1 million

Grants                                                  $57,000

Fines and Forfeits                                $681,700

Fees and Rental                                  $214,850

Parks and Recreation Activity Fees    $906,100

Interest                                                $67,850

Ambulance                                          $4,000

Licenses and Permits                          $205,400

Other                                                   $644,200

Transfers In                                         $19.2 million

General fund expenditures

City Manager                                       $351,587

Information Technology                       $2.5 million

Human Resources                              $560,648

Finance                                               $1 million

Development Services                        $1.4 million

Transportation                                    $6.8 million

Parks, Events and Recreation            $4.1 million

Police                                                 $10.8 million

Fire                                                     $7.2 million

Library                                                $1.6 million

Legal                                                  $547,661

General Government                         $1.8 million

Transfer Out                                       $16.4 million