Brunswick City Manager Jim Drumm presented the fiscal year 2019-2020 budget for the City of Brunswick to the mayor and commissioners Wednesday evening, detailing several key provisions both new and recurring from previous budgets.
The budget’s proposed millage rate of 13.219, which translates to $13.22 for every $1,000 of taxable value of property, hasn’t changed from last year, marking four years without a rate increase. The sanitation services fee also remains unchanged at $22.20 per month for citizens.
Notable in this year’s budget is the new addition of public transit. A study authorized by the city and the county governments last year looked at the possible benefits of a bus service to connect urban residents with different jobs, medical and government services, and retail outlets.
The study, which has not been completed, will likely analyze the staffing necessities for a possible bus service. In order to not lose a year of funding, the city has requested federal funds for the purchase of five busses. If the city green lights the public transit initiative, routes will be planned over the next year. The busses would then be purchased in the third quarter, and implemented in the fourth quarter.
Under the proposed budget, most city employees will get a raise this year. A 3 percent raise is proposed for all employees not on probation as of July 1. Employees on probation will receive a 1.5 percent raise after finishing their probation.
Law enforcement and firefighters are also set to receive raises. Non-probationary police officers under the rank of Major will receive raises between 4.6 and 6 percent, based on their classification and rank. Non-probationary firefighters under the rank of captain will receive a raise of 6 percent.
Drumm noted that these proposed pay increases will help recruitment and retention in the lower entry level public safety positions.
All told, the estimated general revenues and expenditures for the proposed 2019-2020 budget amount to $23,439,411. The estimated total budget including general fund, special revenue funds and enterprise funds is $46,937,501.
Drumm concluded his presentation calling the budget “tight”, but he remained optimistic.
“We’re stretching our funds, but we’re making it work,” Drumm said.