Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s administration released its proposed fiscal year 2016 budget today. Among other highlights, the $234 million general fund budget includes a 2.5 percent cost of living raise for employees, with the opportunity for another raise later in the year and a continued dedication to building a larger capital budget.
The proposal’s fate will be decided by the Mobile City Council. A resolution to adopt the budget will be introduced at Tuesday’s regular council meeting, but it will be held over pending a review of the Finance Committee and public comments.
Stimpson wrote in his budget message that the general fund is level to 2014 and 2015 fiscal year actuals. He noted he recommended level funding of performance contracts “with very little exception.”
One exception involves a performance contract for the Mobile History Museum board. The city will pay the board $1.1 million through a performance contract to operate the museum. This performance contract effectively ends a months-long power struggle between the board and the administration.
Meanwhile, the proposal also removes performance contract funding for the Alabama School of Math and Science in the amount of $19,600, the Business Innovation Center for $9,800, the Gulf Coast Exploreum for $147,000 and the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce for $375,000. The chamber’s funding is replaced in the capital improvement fund.
In the case of the Gulf Coast Exploreum, the city recently purchased its building for $1. As part of the agreement, the city will pay for the science center’s utilities, which average $300,000 per year, officials said at the time.
The $234 million General Fund proposal represents a $9.4 million increase from the fiscal year 2015 adopted budget and about a $15 million increase when compared to projected 2015 actuals. It also represents a $4.6 million budgeted reserve.
The capital budget, a combination of the Capital Improvement Fund, Convention Center Fund and Strategic Plan Fund, will total a little more than $69 million. It includes, $25.8 million dedicated for debt service, with about $43 million remaining for expenditures.
The $43 million in proposed expenditures includes $21 million set aside for district-by-district infrastructure improvements through a 20 percent sales tax increase extended last year, for the next three years.
In the Convention Center Fund, the proposal aims at level funding for several Mobile events, with a few exceptions including an additional $20,000 to the Senior Bowl and an increase of $164,800 for the Mobile Sports Authority. The budget also decreases the amount of building insurance from $450,000 in 2015 to $320,000 in 2016.
Lagniappe will have more on the proposal in the coming days.
Updated to add information about funding for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.
MAYOR SANDY STIMPSON’S PROPOSED FY 2015-2016 BUDGET