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June 5, 2018 Mayor's Memorandum, Part 2: Exhibit 1 NEMAC Budget


Only 3 pages the NEMAC budget looks like something put together with little effort. One assumes they base the revenue portion on information given by county staff, and that the expenditures are a mix of available data and best guesses.
Whatever the case please find the most important information at the bottom of the budget:
Yes, neighbors, after years of exhaustive study and analysis the NEMAC approved a budget which nets the new city an excess of $42 in revenue a year!
When you think about how many different ways government budgets can go this little number represents a pretty big argument for incorporation: without raising taxes (or so they say, I still haven't got that far in the budget analysis to agree or not) a new city can run itself and provide equal or better services to its residents than the county currently does. Well that at least raises the question whose answer may represent a pretty big argument for incorporation: does this budget provide equal or better services, and not raise any taxes? Hopefully members of the NEMAC can address this with me and I can publish a follow up to this post in the near future.

On to the budget!

Revenue

Property taxes at their current rate pull in $2,197,560

Property taxes as well as other revenue equate to $9,197,943
I can only wonder: are these numbers real? Does the county currently get $25,000 for bus bench permits in our area? What loans have we given for which we would receive $15,680 in interest? The budget provided by the third party in Exhibit 2 will answer some  questions, but it's important to account for ALL revenue the city should get that currently goes to the county or some other body.

Expenditures


These numbers represent what the NEMAC believes could run the new city. The first six items seem completely speculative, and I bet a comparison to various other municipalities within 20 miles could provide many different numbers. The police department represents over half the budget!

It gives me pause, and I can't help but wildly speculate what that means for a city. Lest we forget: police get periodic raises, guaranteed benefits, and other costly quality of life expenses like taking vehicles home. These expenses grows like few other line items can. Retirement means municipalities paying retirement benefits while simultaneously taking on the costs of hiring and training replacements.
We face this scenario even under the county, but this budget assumes a substantial increase in policing service in this incorporated area, substantially increasing costs.

Two more things to notice before I set this out into the wild:
Fist, look at the bold letters A, B, and C. The bottom of the page states "Revenues offset Expenses," accounting speak for these lines equal each other. A from revenue equals A from expenses, B from revenue equals the Bs from expenses, etc..

Finally, the penultimate line-item called "Contingency Reserve" for $500,000. Other than police, this may be the most important line. The explanation appears as follows:
The NEMAC did not necessarily expect to pay a mitigation fee, but they noted this money might get used to pay one. The County anticipates a higher fee than the contingency. This budget reflects a city which must cut services to afford its police!
Recall from the terms of the Mayor's Memorandum that they expect it to cost $574,000 the first year, going up for seven years. This non-existent city needs to cut $74,000 from other line items ASAP!
Suffice it to say these numbers don't add up. Rumors abound of a new budget in the works. I will write about that when I acquire it. My next post closes out analysis of the exhibits, with a very important piece of evidence: a budget review by a private firm!






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