The proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 has been released by City of Franklin Administrator Eric Stuckey.
“Over the past year, communities across the world have been strained like never before by global pandemic, social upheaval, and economic hardships,” stated Stuckey. “Throughout these challenging times, the Franklin community and our City government has focused on responses that have been compassionate, knowledge-based, and resilient. How we emerge is the pivotal question. Will we be stronger and better able to care for and about one another? Or will we be more divided, weaker, and less than we were before? With these questions in mind, our City team has focused on efforts to meet community needs while thinking of ways to strengthen the community.”
From the City team’s efforts, a framework for a “Stronger Franklin” emerged during the budget process, focusing on four key areas:
1) pandemic – the response to the pandemic and beyond,
2) people – caring for people in the community and throughout our City team,
3) projects – delivering on vital community projects, and
4) possibilities – building capacity to make the most of future opportunities.
The 2021-22 (FY22) General Fund budget is $84,467,632, which represents an increase of 9.8 percent compared to the current $76,961,962 million budget for 2020-21 (FY21). The FY22 budget for all funds is $166,768,250, which represents an increase of 1.7 percent compared to FY21.
Despite unprecedented economic challenges, the City of Franklin is in excellent financial condition, with reserves at strong levels, debt obligations relatively low and manageable, and tax rates among the lowest in the state. The City leadership team has taken decisive action over the past 15 months to control costs. Continued strong financial management and strategic investment will position the City of Franklin to succeed and thrive as the regional and national economy emerges from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlights of the 2021-22 Budget
· The budget is balanced.
· The budget fully complies with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s debt and fund reserve policies.
· Essential service levels are maintained.
· There is no property tax increase in the FY 2022 Budget. The City’s property tax rate will be reduced from the current rate of $0.4176 per $100 of assessed valuation due to the revaluation of property throughout Williamson County. The exact property tax rate will be available in mid-May based on the County Property Assessor’s updated property valuations. The Invest Franklin dedicated funding for infrastructure/transportation investment and support of City operations dedicated five years ago remains in place. The City of Franklin continues to maintain one of the lowest municipal property tax rates in the State of Tennessee.
· The budget includes seven new positions and seven “restored” positions in the General Fund. The new positions within the General Fund include the establishment of an “Urban Street Tree” crew (four positions), a trail maintenance position, and an Emergency Management position. The seven restored positions are spread across six departments including Streets, Parks, Planning, Engineering, Building & Neighborhood Services and Revenue Management/Customer Service. There is a new position in the Sanitation and Environmental Services Fund due to growth and four new positions in Water Management Fund to assist with the expanded and upgraded Water Reclamation Facility that will open in 2022.
· A general pay increase for City team members will be effective the first pay period of July 2021. The budget includes a general pay increase of 2.5 percent plus an additional performance-based pay increase of up to an additional 2.5 percent.
· The budget also includes a one-time pay supplement of $1,000 to all City team members (full-time and permanent part-time employees) funded through a portion of the City of Franklin’s American Rescue Plan allocation. These essential workers have truly gone above and beyond over the past 15 months to serve the community during challenging times.
· For the second consecutive year, health insurance premiums for City team members will remain unchanged in FY22.
· In FY22, the City will begin to work with an outside fleet management partner to provide “consumer vehicles” (sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks) for City departments. This approach will provide better updated vehicles to our team in a more efficient manner.
· Funding is provided for important investments operating capital ($3.7 million) including equipment replacements, technology enhancements, and facility improvements.
· The FY22 budget includes rate increases in other funds: a $1.50 per month increase for resident trash and recycling collection (from $19/month to $20.50/month), a 5 percent increase in Stormwater utility rates (an annual impact to residential customers of between $1.64 to $2.63 per year), and planned water and sewer rate increases of approximately 3 percent.
· The budget incorporates performance measures and sustainability initiatives for every department. The connection to our Strategic Plan, FranklinForward, is clearly linked to performance measures and objectives throughout the budget, including insights from the recently completed citizen survey.
“As we move into a new fiscal year, challenges remain, as do many opportunities,” continued Stuckey. “The City of Franklin will continue to be bolstered by our highly capable City team supported by strong long-term financial plans and policies that provide vital financial capacity to weather difficult times. Our best efforts will be required to meet the demands that lie ahead. The City must continue to deliver high-quality services, enhance existing infrastructure, and prepare for growth in terms of services, infrastructure, and community impact.”
To read more about the proposed budget and see it in its entirety, go here www.franklintn.gov/FY2022Budget.