Longmont City Staff Seek Council Direction for 2020 City Budget

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(Sergio R. Angeles / Longmont Observer)

Every year the Longmont City budget must be presented to council on or before September 1. This year the City Manager, Harold Dominguez will present the budget on August 27, 2019.

Prior to doing so, city staff looked to council for a few specific items to help them prepare for the August 27 budget and 2020-2025 Proposed CIP presentation. Those items include:

  • Financial policies that serve to guide the formation of the annual budget will be briefly covered to confirm their continued use for guidance.
  • Consideration of credit card convenience fees.
  • Request general guidance and priority of efforts that support the City Council vision and work plan

Financial policies that serve to guide the formation of the annual budget

In reagards to financial policies that serve to guide the formation of the annual budget, there are a set of guidelines that city staff follow when preparing the annual budget. Unless council gives other directions staff will follow the 97 policies in the following 8 categories:

  • Revenue Policies
  • Operating Policies
  • Fees for Service Policies
  • Investment and Debt Policies
  • Reserve Policies
  • Administrative and Franchise Fee Policies
  • Enterprise Fund Policies
  • Capital Improvement Policies

Consideration of credit card convenience fees

City staff has seen an increase in credit card merchant fees. Originally, credit cards were only accepted by the City for utility payments. Over time, other services have been allowed to accept credit cards as payment. As either a rule or by law, the City was not allowed to pass those fees onto the customer.

In 2018, the City of Longmont paid just over $1 million of merchant fees. According to city council communication, “the majority of those fees (80.9%) are for payments of either utility bills or Nextlight. Recreation (7.8%) and Golf (6.6%) fees are the next highest usage. Building permit fees are 3.5% and then Court fines, Museum charges, parking tickets and Library fines making up the remaining 1.2%.”

As the times change, credit card convenience fee rules are becoming more lax. City staff are proposing that the City charge a convenience fee or to pass on the merchant fee to the customer. If council supports the idea, staff also wants to know which transactions the fee would apply to: all, certain transactions, or none.

If this fee were passed onto customers, city staff would be able to remove these amounts from the proposed 2020 budget.

Request general guidance and priority of efforts that support the City Council vision and work plan

While trying to develop and accurate budget for 2020, staff is looking for guidance on which projects are a priority for council. Here are a list of projects that have currently been identified or are already underway:

  • Human Service Agency Funding Increase Scenarios
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Sugar Mill Redevelopment Planning
  • TRP131 – 1st and Main Transit Station Area Improvements
  • STEAM Implementation

To learn more about the details of each of these sections please visit the City of Longmont’s website.

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