Longmont City Council Discusses 2020 Budget

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Jim Golden (photo taken from Longmont Channel 8 video)

The discussion on the City of Longmont budget was scheduled for the September 10 city council meeting. This article only includes the information that was to be presented at that meeting. Another article will touch on the remainder of the presentation.

Due to a nearly four hour Public Invited to Be Heard session which mostly heard the public’s stance on the proposed Gun Safety Resolution by Councilmember Tim Waters, the discussion on the 2020 budget was tabled until the September 17 Longmont City Council Study Session.

Jim Golden, City of Longmont chief financial officer, mentioned that he had never experienced a budget presentation being postponed due to such a turn out by the public.

Overall Budget

In 2020, Golden projects that there will be a 2.75% decrease in the overall proposed budget by $10 million. This decrease is largely due to a significant drop in funding allocated to CIP projects which was $87.9 million in 2019 to an estimated $52.4 million in 2020. This drop is mostly due to the $41.2 million that was budgeted in 2019 for the Windy Gap firming project.

Other significant increases or decreases in other funding areas are mostly due to capital expenses.

Through July 2019, Longmont experienced an increase in sales/use tax by 3.1%. In 2020, that amount is estimated to be around 3.46% based on the city’s knowledge of CPI growth indicators, population growth indicators, and new businesses.

Estimated building permit revenue for 2020 is expected to decrease from 2019. The City expects 920 single-family and multifamily dwelling units to be built in 2020. By the end of 2019, 995 estimated dwellings will have been built.

Golden reminded council that the property tax calendar calls for a reassessment of property taxes every other year and that is scheduled for 2020. During these years the increase in revenue is not only seen from new construction but also from an increase in property value.

The 2020 proposed budget anticipates an increase of 9.2% or $1,750,000 in property tax revenues. The City staff is proposing to earmark $220,000 of that $1,750,000 increase for one-time expenses to offset in 2021 when the City does not see as much of an increase in property taxes.

General Fund

The 2019 General Fund adopted budget was $82,589,442. The proposed 2020 General Fund budget is expected to increase to $86,795, 839 which is a 5.1% increase.

The City expects to add four FTE (full-time employee) positions. Those include an attorney, a library campus supervisor, a .75-time admin analyst in recreation, a senior resource specialist, an environmental/sustainability planner, two arborists, ERP business analyst, and an accountant.

In 2019, the City set General Fund Reserve Targets to range between $13.9-18.1 million. The current total funded reserve amount is $11,829,490.

For the next year, the General Fund Reserve Target is set at $14.4-18.74 million. Golden stated that he had not yet included the projections for property taxes in this estimation, however, this is one area where those funds would be included.

Public Safety Fund

The 2020 proposed budget for Longmont Public Safety would include $13 million of sales and use tax, $1.2 million in grants and other intergovernmental revenues, and a projected $40,440 in revenue from the firing range.

The expenditures for this department is estimated to $15.2 million that includes 98.38 total employees, 53 from police services, 17 from fire services, 13 in communications, 4 in support services, 8 in Community Health & Resiliency, 1 city attorney, 2 in Children and Youth resources, and .38 in graffiti removal.

Additional expenditures include:

  • $879,870 of one-time expenses
  • $478,238 for firing range operations
  • $350,00 lease on Fire Station 1
  • $77,026 final repayment on a loan from the Fleet Services Fund for Public Safety radio replacement

Public safety is looking to add the following positions to their budget, 4 patrol police officers, 1 sergeant, 2 police detectives, and 2 school resource officers, 3 firefighters, 3 firefighter/paramedics, 2 peer case managers, and 1 emergency management coordinator.

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