Powell City Council approved the city’s fiscal year 2021 budget Tuesday. In total, the budget includes $14,684,270 in appropriations for the new fiscal year, slightly lower than the projected available funds of $15,636,310 as part of the 2020 budget.
“Long term, this is a budget to get us into the new year,” City Manager Andrew White said during Tuesday’s virtual council meeting. “I see, assuming this gets adopted in its current state, the month of December and moving into it, there’s an opportunity for us to address some of the core objectives we want to address in 2021.
“Overall, looking into the next year, based on what we’ve experienced this year, I feel very optimistic about where our financial position is,” White said.
General fund appropriations show a total of $9,200,888, which includes $6,065,404 in personnel services and $2,834,083 in operating expenses. Staffing in the police department remains the biggest expense for the city, making up more than half of the personnel services budget at $3,155,412.
In the city’s special revenue funds, the street maintenance and repair fund shows appropriations of $1,194,014 in total, which is higher than the original proposal for the fund. The entire special revenues fund shows a grand total of $1,829,467.
Other appropriations include a grand total of $2,697,130 for debt service funds, $518,270 for capital projects funds such as the Sawmill Corridor TIF and sanitary sewer funds, and $438,514 in trust and agency funds.
Councilman Tom Counts, who chairs the Powell Finance Committee and worked extensively on the budget, said of the final proposal, “This budget represents a vetting at multiple finance committee meetings and a council meeting. Very little changes … we are going to add more money to street maintenance, which I think is a good thing. So, I think we’re well set in terms of having something good for council to pass tonight.”
Councilman Brian Lorenz said the adding of funds to street maintenance is something he believes will “pay dividends with our residents in the long term.”
“It’s a tangible effort that our residents will be able to see and use, and shows the value of conservative leadership here with the budget…,” Lorenz said.
Vice Mayor Dan Swartwout pointed out the budget is a “blueprint” for the city’s money, but that doesn’t mean that if opportunities for savings were to arise, the city still has to spend the monies allocated in the budget.
Councilman Jon Bennehoof called the 2021 budget “the best budget in my experience as far as ease of understanding and ease of it coming together,” although he acknowledged the extensive effort that went into the document.