Meridian is looking at a leaner budget for the upcoming year.
The proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020, starting Oct. 1, is $120.5 million, down from the current budget of $130.5 million.
“This year we didn’t see any big ticket items,” said Jenny Fields, city budget analyst.
Next year’s list of capital projects is relatively short compared to this year’s, which included a number of large public works projects such as upgrades to the Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility, water and sewer mainline extensions and completion of the city’s fourth drinking water treatment facility.
Those projects were part of the reason next year’s proposed enterprise fund, used for water and wastewater expenses, goes down significantly from $65.2 million this year to $48.1 million.
While the enterprise funds and overall budget would shrink, the city’s general fund budget would increase in FY20. The general fund, supported by property tax, covers personnel and operational expenses for police, fire, parks and administration. The proposed general fund is $67 million, up from $62.4 million this year and $53.4 million the previous fiscal year.
The city is holding a public hearing for the budget on Aug. 20, starting at 6 p.m. at Meridian City Hall.
In order to balance the proposed budget, city staff plan to take a 1.5% property tax increase. This year the city took a 3% increase, the maximum allowed by the state, and a 2% increase the year before.
About $150,000 of the increase, or 0.5%, will go toward funding future projects — the details of which Fields did not know. The other $300,000, or 1%, would go into the public safety fund, paying for new fire and police vehicles, Fields said.
Included in the FY20 proposed general fund is:
- Changes in employee compensation, including merit-based pay increases, maternity and paternity leave, vacation buy-back and education reimbursement, costing $445,000.
- A prop village for police and fire to practice simulations and trainings. The building will include houses, a two-story building with a basement, apartments, businesses and a fire-training prop made of shipping containers, costing $3.5 million to build.
- Improvements to the Meridian Police Department building, including reconfiguring some work spaces and adding more office space, costing $1 million.
- Design for phase two of Discovery Park, costing $715,000.
- Design for the Heroes Park parking expansion, costing $51,000 — half of which will be reimbursed to the city by the Meridian Police Activities League.
- Design and engineering of two new 10-foot pathway connections in Meridian, costing $118,000.
- Eleven new police patrol officers and two new police vehicles, costing $1.4 million.
Next year’s proposed budget is $48.1 million, a decrease from this year’s $65.2 million. The budget includes $17.7 million of carryover funds from this year for ongoing projects.
The budget includes a handful of big ticket items:
- New digester control building and digester in the Meridian Wastewater Treatment Facility, helping break down organic matter in sewage, costing $1 million.
- Water main extensions, costing $550,000
- Enhancements to Well 18, Well 23, Well 31 and Well 9B, costing $1.6 million.
- Finishing construction of Well 33, costing $1.1 million.
- Three new wastewater personnel, costing $246,000.
City Council will vote on the budget after the Aug. 20 public hearing. The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, 2019.
The full budget summary can be viewed at meridiancity.org. A full budget proposal can be viewed in the Meridian City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 33 E. Broadway Ave., Meridian. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city's website.