Mayor's Minute: November
November 3, 2019
As the old adage goes, “The answer is money, what is the question?”. For years, this saying has been a constant in City Hall, and it is true in both the public and private sectors. Throughout my 14 years as Mayor, I have held to the belief that the City’s roadmap to enhance the quality of life for all citizens is through our operating and capital budgets. To ensure that we are forward leaning, my budgets have been conservative in an effort to safeguard healthy reserves and maintain our high credit ratings with Moody’s and S&P. On August 27th, I presented my proposed operating budgets to the City Council, and if you like you can view the presentation and documents at www.tuscaloosa.com/2020budget. The total amount of all operating budgets is $235 million with $164 million for General Fund, $56 million for the Water/Sewer Fund and $15 million for Elevate Tuscaloosa.
Below are a few of the highlights from the 2020 proposed budget:
- Environmental services fee reduction of $18 per month which will save 97 percent of residential garbage users $216 annually. This is due to Elevate Tuscaloosa which was adopted in April.
- The addition of six new police officers and a partnership with ATF for acquisition of NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network).
- The addition of a social worker for Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Services (TFRS) to address the ever-increasing mental health issues, by helping individuals when possible before they find their way into criminal justice system.
- The addition of 16 new police vehicles and one new TFRS pumper truck.
It is impossible to outline months of works, thousands of pages of documents and the numerous hours of investment by myself and my staff in just a few sentences. That being said, in the coming months I will be sharing as much as possible. I want to close by ensuring you that we are investing your tax dollars strategically and wisely. In 2011, the City had $42.6 million in reserve. Even after tens of millions of dollars were spent rebuilding our city following April 27, 2011, without borrowing money or raising taxes, today our reserves are $49.5 million. Below is some additional information regarding our stewardship over the past 13 years. As always, if you have any questions, I would love the opportunity to discuss any detail or all of our budget process with you.