The Glendale City Council will consider final budget adoption at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 8, after voting on a tentative budget May 11.
The May 11 vote was after the Glendale Star’s deadline.
The FY 2021-22 proposed budget tentative budget is set at $1.244 billion and includes an operating budget of $731 million, a capital improvement budget of $281 million, a debt service budget of $93 million and a contingency appropriation of $139 million, according to City Manager Kevin R. Phelps.
“The budget does not include an increase to the primary property tax rate,” Phelps said in a memo.
“The FY 21-22 budget represents a transition from my previous five years, which included few new staff positions or expansions of programs and services. This is due in large part to the council’s prioritization to build the city’s unrestricted fund balance to its targeted level. It took sacrifice and discipline to achieve this goal.”
The proposed FY 2021-22 budget continues to maintain the city’s sustainable financial position while also increasing staffing in strategic areas.
“These critical positions will ensure that we can continue to deliver services and projects in a manner our customers and citizens have come to expect from the city of Glendale,” he said.
This budget emphasizes improving public safety, building on economic development momentum, enhancing neighborhoods and addressing critical infrastructure needs. The budget ensures service delivery and resource allocation are aligned throughout the entire organization. Development of the budget centered around the following key priorities:
• Maintains targeted unrestricted fund balance (25% of ongoing revenue).
• Investments in information technology security and reliability.
• Investments in infrastructure to ensure sustainable, affordable and dependable clean water delivery and wastewater disposal.
• Addition of new police positions.
• Additional firefighter positions, including a second MRU, contingent on grant funding.
• Increasing internal capacity to deliver capital projects on time.
• Investments to improve and maintain critical infrastructure.
• Continued focus on speed to market.
• Additional staff position to assist small businesses.
• Increased O&M for parks and recreation facilities and amenities.
• Completion of Heroes Park Lake.
• O’Neil Park Splash Pad.
• New after-school programs.
• Funding for employee recognition for Innovation and Excellence in Service.
• Restoration of tuition reimbursement program.
The city’s financial policies were the guiding principles in developing the FY 2021-22 financial forecast and ultimately the recommended budgets to the city council. The overall goals underlying the city’s financial policies include fiscal conservatism, flexibility and adherence to the highest accounting and management practices.
Operating budget highlights
The total FY 2021-22 operating budget request is $731 million, which is a $287 million increase over the FY 2020-21 operating budget of $444 million.
Of the increase, $260 million is additional appropriation required to use the proceeds of certificates of participation to make payment to the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PRSPR) to fund the city’s unfunded pension liability for police and fire personnel to an estimated 90% funded level.
Additional highlights of the proposed budget include:
• Added funding to cover substantially increased costs in risk management and worker’s compensation.
• Employee incentive program for Innovation or Excellence in Service.
• 1.5% COLA plus performance pay of 1.5% available for nonmemorandum of understanding employees.
• Salary increases in accordance with current MOUs for represented employees.
• Funding for three new communication specialists/911 dispatchers.
• Eight new firefighters (contingent upon grant funding) and associated equipment.
• Two additional detectives: one vehicular crimes and one CID persons crimes.
• Operating costs for Heroes Park Lake and Glen Lakes Park.
• Additional project managers and engineers for improved project delivery.
• Additional building safety inspectors and development services department assistance to support growth and eliminate current log jams.
• Additional innovation and technology staff to enhance systems support and cybersecurity.
The total FY 2021-22 general fund operating budget request is $482 million, and public safety remains a top priority.
The largest operating budget is nondepartmental, which includes the appropriation of $260 million to pay PSPRS to fund the city’s unfunded pension liability for police and fire personnel to an estimated 90% funded level.
The police and fire departments represent the second-largest operating budgets within the general fund, with expenditures totaling $142 million, or 29%. The next largest share of general fund expenses is public facilities, recreation and special events at $16 million, which reflects the council’s priority to invest in operations and maintenance activities at the city’s parks.
Total general fund appropriations also include $3 million in contingency, which can be used for unforeseen expenditures or unexpected revenue shortfalls, which may occur during the budget year.
General fund forecast
During the budget discussions, much of the focus continued to be on the general fund, which is the largest operating fund of the city.
For FY 2021-22, the proposed general fund budget is balanced with a planned use of excess unassigned fund balance. This draw down is primarily for capital projects budgeted as a result of the AZ Cares Funding and the American Rescue Plan federal funds, which were received to offset the costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Projects for the AZ Cares funding have already been identified and are in progress. Projects and initiatives for the American Rescue Plan funding will be determined once the guidelines for spending of those funds have been released by the federal government later this year.
The development of the FY 2021-22 budget continued to follow the financial plan and policies as the city council outlined, Phelps said.
Prudent financial decisions, coupled with conservative forecasting methods, have successfully strengthened the city’s financial position, he added.
“The city has weathered the storm of the pandemic and, with the help of state and federal funding, is moving toward a better and faster service delivery model,” Phelps said.
“In addition, planning for the NFL Super Bowl in 2023 and the NCAA Final Four in 2024 is already underway.
“This is an exciting time for the Glendale community as the city continues to be viewed by the business community as a valued partner, improves the lives of its citizens through quality amenities and service delivery, and matures from a leadership and organizational development perspective to be the community of choice for our residents, businesses and employees.”