Franklin City Council adopts fiscal year 2023-24 budget
Published 6:23 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2023
The Franklin City Council voted unanimously Monday, May 8, to adopt a fiscal year 2023-24 general fund budget of $29,482,277 with a real property tax rate that remains the same at $1.03 per $100 of real property valuation for FY 2023-24.
As City Manager Amanda C. Jarratt noted in a May 1 staff report to the City Council, the general fund budget represents an increase of nearly $2.3 million, or 5.9%, compared to the city’s FY 2022-23 amended budget.
NON-SUSTAINABLE SOURCES OF FUNDS
She also stated that the FY 2023-24 budget was balanced utilizing $195,000 from the
Water & Sewer Fund and an additional $360,600 from the Electric Fund above the normal transfer for operations.
“In prior years, there were valiant and concerted efforts aimed at maintaining the current tax rate,” she wrote. “It is acknowledged, however, absent strategic and incremental tax increases paired with growth of the tax base, maintaining the levels of services that the citizens of Franklin are accustomed to will not be possible. These are non-sustainable sources of funds.”
During the May 8 meeting, she emphasized that point.
“It is my obligation as the manager to reiterate that to you on numerous occasions, so I do apologize, but it’s important that everyone knows that we’re not going to be able to use those funds moving forward in the future,” she said.
In the staff report, she wrote that “efficiencies have been achieved across all departments, and at this point, in order to maintain essential services, an increase in the revenue stream is necessary. The increases associated with this year’s budget includes necessary capital projects and new positions in Franklin Fire and Rescue, Franklin Police, and Social Services.”
During the meeting, Jarratt stated that the budget’s unassigned fund balance remains more than 35%.
ELECTRIC FUND AND RATE
The Electric Fund in the newly adopted budget totals $18,926,759, according to Jarratt’s staff report, representing an increase of a little more than $2 million, or 12.1%, compared to its total in the FY 2022-23 adopted budget.
“Electric rates are staying the same, so even though we are absorbing an over 6% increase in what we pay for power, we are not passing that on to the end user, so the electric rate is remaining the same,” Jarratt said during the May 8 meeting.
After adopting the budget, the City Council also voted unanimously to adopt the electric rate ordinance.
WATER AND SEWER FEES
Jarratt noted during the May 8 meeting that there are no increases to the water and sewer fees in the new budget because the city is undergoing a study for those that will come back to the council at a later date.
The Water & Sewer Fund in the new budget totals $3,444,922.
SCHOOL OPERATING FUND
“We are level funding the schools at just over $4.3 million, and that was done in consultation with (Franklin City Public Schools Superintendent) Dr. (Carlton) Carter,” Jarratt told council members.
The new budget indicates that the total Education Fund revenue is $20,068,103. More than $11.6 million of that amount comes from state revenue, more than $3.9 million comes from federal revenue, $4,330,237 comes from local revenue, and $207,224 comes from a category called “other local revenue.”
In her staff report, Jarratt wrote that an additional but integral consideration for analysis concerning all categories of city services is further refinement and ongoing evaluation of the city’s multi-year Capital Improvements Program planning and funding strategies.
“Long-term capital needs remain on the horizon, however staff successfully worked together to fund necessary capital improvements,” she stated.
Jarratt noted in her staff report that personnel costs are by far the largest single expenditure category in the city’s budget, which is typical for practically any organization or enterprise.
“While there are several positions frozen in the FY 24 budget in the police department and Public Works, positions are being restored in the police department, fire department and Social Services,” she stated. “In addition, the city of Franklin is adding three new fire and (emergency medical services) positions to maintain our current level of service within the Franklin city limits.”
During the May 8 meeting, she said the budget includes a 5% cost-of-living adjustment increase for FY 24, which is in line with all the surrounding localities. She said the exception to that is the Department of Social Services, which is planning to receive 7% because it follows the state budget.
Just prior to adopting the budget, Ward 4 Councilman Dr. Linwood Johnson shared some thoughts, concluding by saying, “I applaud the staff and the city manager for working on the budget to level that — that was a monumental task, and as the city manager pointed out, that’s the first go-around. When we come around again (next year), we’ll probably have to do something different, but right now, it’s a good day to be in the city of Franklin.”
Mayor Robert “Bobby” Cutchins added, “True. I agree with that. We’re moving forward, and we take it one year at a time, but look ahead and see what the future brings.”