Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Wilkins Unveils $156.4 Million 2025 Budget

Proposes 5% spending increase
Town Manager Jeff Wilkins has issued his recommended budget (“TMRB”) for fiscal 2025, which starts July 1. “This budget totals $156.4 million, representing an increase of $7.9 million, or 5.1 percent more than the adopted FY 23/24 budget of $148.5 million.

Five major assumptions
“Assumptions that shaped the development of the FY 24/25 budget include: Moderate growth in local and state shared sales tax revenue; a significant decline in state shared income tax revenue as a result of [state] income tax reductions; continued slowdown in single family residential development activity; and sustained, persistently high prices in goods and services.” (Source: 2025 TMRB)

Click to enlarge
A quick look
The budget is a very detailed document covering all areas of town operations. LOVE will be reporting on the areas during this month. The chart at right is a glimpse into Wilkins’ recommendation. 

There's a lot to unpack in this budget, like the inclusion of grant funds the town does not yet have
Wilkins states in the TMRB that $4.4 million from the Town's budget is earmarked for enhancing the Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve. This includes activities like revegetation and maintenance. However, only $2 million of this amount is currently available, as the rest relies on a matching grant that the town hasn't secured. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, the organization from which the town will seek the grant, may match funds only if the town provides proper documentation and submits a complete application. However, there's uncertainty, given the town's past experience with a similar grant application to this group for Naranja Park. They received half of what they requested.  Claiming in a budget that there will be $4million spent on the Preserve is strange accounting indeed. 

More to learn in two upcoming study sessions
Tomorrow and Thursday there are two planned town council study sessions on the TMRB. Both sessions are scheduled to start at 5pm. Council will discuss eight areas. Tomorrow they will cover Capital Improvements, Public Works, and Parks & Recreation. Thursday they will discuss the Magistrate Court, Administration, Police, Community and Economic Development and Water.

Our budget coverage continues next week.
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