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Prepared for brighter days ahead

Posted: Monday, May 7th, 2012

OUR town spent the past couple of years planning for the day when the economy would start recovering. Even during the depths of the recession, we were laying a solid framework for the return of improved economic conditions.

I am happy to report that all that planning is paying off. For the first time in several years, we are expecting a slight gain in revenues next fiscal year. Growth in the general fund will be split among priorities that were identified during the recession: current employees, strategic positions and resources and tools.

Current employees: Regular full- and part-time classified and temporary employees and unclassified employees, except those hired on or after this past Jan. 1, will receive a 2 percent cost of living adjustment. In addition, anyone hired before last July 1 will get a one-time payment in December. The amount is based on a sliding scale depending on salary and length of service.

Strategic positions: After adding seven mission-critical positions this fiscal year, the town has identified one – inmate services coordinator – that will impact the general fund in FY’13.

Resources and tools: Replacement vehicles, updated technology and facilities maintenance all must be addressed next fiscal year. Just as homeowners must do, we have to remain ahead of anything that could end up costing the town more down the road if we delay making critical investments.

While we are happy to see revenue growth, those extra dollars only allow us to do so much. There are several outside pressures that confront the budget, including higher insurance costs, impacts from legislative actions and debt service obligations.

Our budget team, headed by Finance Director Erik Montague and Management and Budget Analyst Dot Caton, has done an outstanding job in making the most of our limited dollars. Their work resulted in a structurally balanced budget. Our one-time revenues are dedicated to one-time projects and ongoing revenues cover ongoing expenses.

Our department heads also deserve credit for submitting thorough and well-planned budgets. They made the process as smooth as it has been in several years.

Senior management is proud of the work performed every day by staff. Our town’s success is the result of the tireless dedication of our excellent workforce.

Tentative approval of the budget is scheduled for May 15 with final approval on June 19. Both of those council meetings start at 7 p.m.

We learned lessons during the financial downturn that enable the town to serve residents and business owners in new and even more efficient ways. Marana is a great place to live and do business and we are prepared for brighter days ahead.

For the complete article see the 05-09-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-09-2012 paper.

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