Council decides on surplus spending

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, December 22, 2016

City Council on Wednesday made a decision on how to spend excess revenue from the 2016 fiscal year.

“We find ourselves in the enviable position of having some excess dollars over and above what we thought we would finish with,” the city’s financial advisor, David Rose, said in Wednesday’ meeting.

Approximately $8 million was collected by the city that was not anticipated when last year’s budget was formed, Finance Director Tealen Hansen said.

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Higher than expected collections in sales and use, meals, lodging business license and motor vehicle license taxes made up the bulk of the revenue, she said.

“We collected more than we thought we would when we set the budget,” she said.

Of the $8 million, $5 million was accounted for in the current fiscal year budget, Hansen said. When the budget was approved this spring, it was already obvious revenue would be more than anticipated, she said.

About $3 million will be used to increase the unassigned fund balance, and $2 million will be used to partially pay for capital needs in cash.

“We think that will be the type of thing the rating agencies will look favorably upon,” Rose said in Wednesday’s meeting, referring to the increase in the unassigned fund balance.

Of the remaining excess funds, $2 million will be used to pay cash for fleet and equipment needs during the next two years, rather than going into debt for them.

Finally, the last $1 million of the $8 million excess will be used for a variety of needs, which the City Council approved in its regular meeting this week.

Nearly half of it will go toward the Economic Development Investment Program, which is used to provide incentives for companies to expand or locate in Suffolk.

The remainder will go toward uniforms and other needs for the police department, demolition services for Planning and Community Development, and capital needs for the fire department, animal shelter, parks and recreation, the registrar and media and community relations.

City Council members praised the surplus and the planned expenditures of it.

“Eight million is really an exceptional figure,” Councilman Mike Duman said. “It just absolutely shows how we’re progressing as a city and growing economically. I’m ecstatic we’ve got this kind of money.”

“I want the citizens to know we’ve been proactive in handling the money that has been given to us,” Councilman Donald Goldberg said. “We now have the ability to save money rather than using money in reserve.”