City's Budget on Course

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City's Budget on Course

Posted: 02/03/2010
Mayor Bill Haslam said Tuesday that the city has continued to maintain a steady financial performance despite a weak economy and should finish the 2010 Fiscal Year in the black. 
"This year it looks like we'll still finish on budget," Haslam told City Council even though the city's revenues are down for a second straight year.

Haslam's remarks came during the mayor's budget retreat, an annual mid-winter meeting with Council that looks at the city's financial status halfway through the fiscal year and provides a preview of next year's budget. 
During a year when many city governments are cutting back on services Haslam and Finance Director Jim York indicated that the city will stay on course this year.

York reported that the city projects general fund revenues of about $163,048,170 for the 2010 fiscal year which ends on June 30 - or about $2.3 million less than the city expected to take in.

The city is responding to the shortfall by scaling back on spending by $2.3 million so that it should finish the year with a balanced budget. It is also expected to end the year with a fund balance, essentially the city's savings account, of about $52 million. 
"The credit for this goes to our employees who are keeping our expenses below the budget amount," Haslam said after the meeting.

York said that much of the expected $2.3 million decline is due a continuing weakness in sales tax collections, though practically all of the city's sources of revenue from beer and liquor taxes to building permits, court fines and federal and state funding are down.

He said that given everything that has happened in the economy breaking even this year would be a dramatically good result.

Both Haslam and York indicated to Council that the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year will be a very difficult one because revenues are expected to remain flat while the city faces increased personnel and operating costs. 

"Going forward we're going to try to maintain what we have and keep everything under control," York said.

Haslam added that the city will maintain its funding for things like roads and sidewalks and public services next year. 

"I think the commitment is to keep funding the necessary things - but you probably won't see a lot of new initiatives," he said.

Because there are five newly-elected Council members this year's meeting also included a detailed look at how the city's budget is structured including sources of revenues, its different funds and its expenditures.

The discussion also examined the different steps the administration and Council will go through between now and June to develop the city's budget.