Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato tonight proposed a $133 million budget for fiscal 2017, including a $5 million contribution to the Hoover Board of Education and $13.3 million for various capital projects.
The 2017 proposed budget is a 2.8 percent increase from the original $148 million budget approved for fiscal 2016 and less than 1 percent more than actual 2016 expenditures of $132 million. Those numbers do not include expenditures from proprietary funds, such as sewer funds.
The mayor proposes to spend $112 million from the city’s general fund, which is a 12 percent increase from the original 2016 general fund budget of $100 million and 19 percent more than actual 2016 general fund expenses of $94 million. However, 2016 general fund revenues came in more than $5 million higher than anticipated at a record $111.4 million, and the city expects to rake in $112.3 million to the general fund in 2017.
“Our city is healthy financially,” Brocato told the City Council tonight.
He believes his budget shows the city’s commitment to Hoover City Schools and public safety needs and plans ahead for the future, he said.
The city in fiscal 2016 gave about $2.5 million to Hoover schools, plus paid the full $1.7 million cost for school resource officers instead of splitting the cost equally with the school system, as was done in past years. Brocato’s 2017 budget proposal also covers the full cost of school resource officers.
Hoover Councilman John Greene, who voted against the 2016 budget because he didn’t believe it gave enough to schools, tonight said he could not be happier with the $5 million proposed contribution for schools.
“I wish we could have done a little bit more, but I think that’s a good balance to start with,” Greene said. “Hopefully, we can do more in the future. For an initial increase, I’m very satisfied with that.”
Hoover school board President Stephen Presley said the school system would like to have more, “but we’re thrilled to death with what we’ve got."
“We are extremely grateful to have it and look forward to continuing to make Hoover City Schools the best school system in the state,” Presley said.
School system leaders will continue to partner with the city and look for ways to combine services and increase funding, he said.
Capital projects and personnel
The $12.9 million in capital projects includes $3.2 million for a new sidewalk on John Hawkins Parkway between U.S. 31 and the Walmart Supercenter, $3 million for road paving, $2.6 million for renovations and repairs at the Municipal Center, $951,000 to replace an analog dispatch communications system with a digital system and $550,000 for other sidewalk projects.
The capital budget also includes $2.1 million for 23 vehicles, mostly replacements, including a new aerial ladder truck and hazardous materials unit for the Fire Department.
About 54 percent of the $112 million general fund budget — $61 million — is set to go toward personnel. The 2017 budget includes four new positions: an economic developer, an automotive mechanic and two part-time reserve school resource officers. The four positions together would cost the city $278,476 for salaries and benefits.
That also would give the city 653 full-time employees, 105 part-time employees and 39 temporary employees.
Personnel expenses under the mayor’s budget would increase by about $3.6 million, including a $2.3 million increase in health care expenses and $900,000 in step pay increases.
About 57 percent of the city’s personnel costs go to pay for the police and fire departments.
The city’s debt service payments go up to $13.3 million in 2017, an increase of $4.3 million from 2016. That’s due to the $68 million bond issue the previous City Council approved for the new sports complex next to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Debt payments are expected to fall to $12.8 million in 2018 and $6.5 million in 2023, Chief Financial Officer Melinda Lopez said.
This article was updated on March 21 to reflect budget expenditures only from government funds. Official expenditures from proprietary funds, such as the sewer and insurance funds, use different accounting methods and can distort the overall budget picture by double-counting some expenditures.