By Tia Lynn Ivey
Madison City Council unanimously voted to adopt the new budget for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year last Friday, June 26.
The new budget is nearly $16.9 million dollars, about a $100,000 increase from the current year’s budget. According to city officials, the new budget is playing it safe in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to thank Karen Stapp [the City’s Chief Finance Officer],” said Madison Mayor Fred Perriman before the vote Friday morning. “We thank you for the job you have done getting us to this point to be able to adopt this budget for the next fiscal year. We have asked all the questions that needed to be asked, so this morning I ask that we adopt the budget.”
The council voted to approve the budget. According to Stapp, the new budget is fiscally-sound and will meet the city’s financial needs to the upcoming year without having to raise property taxes.
“The proposed budget has remained consistent and conservative, especially without knowing what COVID-19 would do to revenues,” said City Finance Director Karen Stapp earlier this June.
The Madison Mayor and City Council first heard the budget proposal in late May, and held three public hearings on it before voting to adopt it last Friday. The exact figure of the new budget is $16,870,055. According to Stapp, the city also intends to adopt the rollback millage rate later this summer to avoid property tax increases. Stapp is hoping the rollback rate will offset any increases in home values to keep most people’s property tax bill flat.
According to Stapp, the new proposed budget is very similar to the current year’s budget. “We wanted to stay consistent and conservative,” said Stapp. According to Stapp, in the proposed budget, the General Fund has actually decreased by $262,900 from the current year’s budget. “This is mainly due to the completion of capital projects and other items,” explained Stapp. Stapp also noted a new $300,000 CHIP housing grant is included in the new budget.
“Other than that, there’s really not much change from the FY 2020,” budget.
With the coronavirus pandemic still sweeping across the county, and medical experts warning of a second serious wave of the virus hitting in the fall, which could lead to another round of business closings and stay-at-home orders, city leaders were especially careful in crafting the upcoming fiscal year’s budget. “We just don’t know how it will affect revenues coming in,” said Stapp.