The Parker Town Council approved a $51.4 million adopted budget for 2019 during its Nov. 26 meeting. The new budget reflects no increase in anticipated sales tax revenue and a practically flat …
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The Parker Town Council approved a $51.4 million adopted budget for 2019 during its Nov. 26 meeting. The new budget reflects no increase in anticipated sales tax revenue and a practically flat overall projected revenue rate for 2019.
The budget passed on a 5-0 vote with the absence of councilwoman Debbie Lewis.
The town budgeted for $35 million in sales tax revenue in 2019, a 0 percent growth rate from 2018 projections, town officials said. The rate of growth in sales tax revenue has steadily declined over the past five years. The town draws 70 percent of the general fund from sales tax revenue.
“It becomes an issue as that growth rate declines because the general fund is the home of most of our operational departments,” said finance director Mary Lou Brown. “When that source then declines, that impacts our ability to grow either existing programs or take on new programs.”
The $51.4 million budget is down slightly from the amended 2018 budget of $51.6 million. The 2018 budget was initially projected to be $54.4 million, but an unexpected falloff in sales tax revenue growth forced council to make two waves of revisions, amounting to between $4 million and $5 million in reductions. The 2017 projected revenue total sat at $50.3 million.
The most recent revisions to the 2018 budget were made in August, when council approved a $2 million reduction, which included cutting services like the annual holiday carriage rides. The popular town holiday event has since been picked up by the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce.
The town projects $2.1 million in revenue from building permits and an additional $2 million from property taxes.
Brown said she and town administrator Michelle Kivela outlined three main goals with this year's budget: Maintaining a general fund cash balance that is at least 25 percent of the total general fund expenditures; finding ways to provide services with incremental cash resources; and continuing to provide town employees with a strong overall salary and benefits package. The town included a 3.5 percent average salary and wage increase to fund the 2019 performance pay increases.
Kivela said the town will be exploring more public-private partnerships as a way to enhance public programs to leverage funding to be able to "do more with less." Kivela pointed to the most recent partnership with the Parker Racquet Club to build a $6 million indoor tennis facility, which the club will pay for through fundraising. The town will help make sure the fee strucutre, hours of operation and programming align with community interests.
"Moving forward, it is our goal to continue seeking public-private partnership opportunities where we can continue to leverage private resources to enhance public recreation opportunities in Parker," said Jim Cleveland, the deputy town administrator, in an email.
Some notable features of the budget included a $900,000 decrease in the Parks and Recreation Fund for capital projects, with total expenditures at $9.2 million. The Cultural Fund operating revenue increased 2.9 percent to $5.3 million.
The town transferred in $1.5 million from the town's cash fund, leaving the town's projected ending cash at $15.3 million.
“With 2019, having a lower revenue growth over previous years does require us to be more efficient with our expenses," Kivela said. "So it's a matter of 'What's the best use of the revenue we have coming in?' and making sure safety and transportation and those types of things are maintained to keep with the quality of life in Parker."
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