What’s driving city budget?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Suffolk City Council will be reviewing the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year at their work session today.

It was reported earlier this week that the new budget is anticipated to be about $275 million. The current year budget is just over $250 million.

Schools are requesting an additional $6 million this year because of the massive growth in student population and bringing a new high school on line. Rising real estate assessments will generate about $5 million in additional revenue.


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It’s hard to imagine what would require the city budget to increase by $25 million when public schools – the biggest recipient of city funding – is needing just $6 million.

City Council members have an obligation to ask these and any other tough questions regarding the budget. If indeed the proposed budget turns out to be $25 million higher than the current then Council members and the taxpayers need to know why.

City spokesman Dennis Craff told a newspaper that staff is recommending that the current property tax rate of $1.08 per $100 of assessed value remain unchanged. Unless strong justification is shown for the additional $19 million, Council should look seriously at lowering the rate.

A public hearing will be held tonight at 7 in council chambers. If you wish to have a say on how your tax dollars are spent, you should be there.