With a small adjustment, Huntsville City Council approves the 2022 budget



Huntsville City Council on Thursday approved its budgets for fiscal 2022 after receiving the only request it wanted: more money for road resurfacing.

In fact, it was the council’s only point of soft protest as it considered the budget proposed by Mayor Tommy Battle’s administration passing the general fund budget of $ 249 million as well as two plans to improve the properties. fixed assets.

The administration on Thursday increased its funds for road resurfacing by $ 1 million – bringing it to a total of $ 14.5 million – and the city council responded with statements of appreciation and agreed. after getting the setting he wanted.

It was a somewhat extraordinary budget, considering it included $ 80 million for a new town hall as well as $ 1 million for Huntsville city schools to build a new central office on North Memorial Parkway. . These elements had already been approved by the council but the 2022 budget puts it into action.

It also included a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all employees – the largest such increase in 13 years as mayor of Battle.

“Everyone brought their ideas to the table,” said Councilor Bill Kling. “The mayor has given us a very good foundation to work with and I think there are a lot of good things that are going to take care of what we already have. I know we’re looking at future expansion, planning and growth, but I see a lot of good things here that support what we already have and I think it’s been a really good teamwork approach. This is what local government is for when everyone can come to the table and contribute their best ideas. “

The administration amended the 1990 Capital Improvement Plan – which provides funds for road resurfacing, among other things – to meet the council’s demand for more money than originally planned for roads. .

The additional $ 1 million that was added to the roads budget brought the total to $ 14.5 million. This was a 23% increase over Budget 2021’s resurfacing budget and was in line with what Public Works Director Chris McNeese said the council was doable in terms of getting the money spent. .

City officials said the amount of money budgeted for road resurfacing is only as good as what can be spent by having paving crews available to carry out the work.

City administrator John Hamilton said the additional $ 1 million was added from revenue projections over the next 10 years of the 1990 capital improvement plan and no funding for a other project had been stolen to pay for additional resurfacing funds.

“The capital plan is a 10-year model, so I was able to make some adjustments without taking anything away from the current year’s projects,” Hamilton said. “It kind of fades over the 10 years. The next nine years make fairly conservative income assumptions.

“It’s good to have a 10-year plan to see and get a general idea of ​​where you’re going. In terms of what is actually executed, next year is really what matters. “

Hamilton said he believed the city would be able to spend the $ 14.5 million on resurfacing in the next fiscal year, but noted it was an ongoing project that never ends . Also at the city council meeting on Thursday, the council approved more than $ 5.3 million for the second phase of resurfacing in the 2021 budget that ends next week.

Overall, the board expressed satisfaction with the budget and Battle said the process was “not contentious” this year.

“I would say the reason it went so well is the recommendation of the finance committee that we have a working session ahead of time,” said Board Chair Jennie Robinson. “We’ve never done this before. This August working session where we were able to give our opinion on where we came from, so there weren’t any surprises for the administration and we didn’t sort of fight over things made this process much more fluid.


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