This review is similar my review of last year’sbudget except that I go into greater detail and try to give a more comprehensive look at the budget. As with last year’s review, these numbers are solely for informative purposes. I have tried to distill a 294 page budget into a short and meaningful review to enable the general public to see the primary figures. Any perceived bias for or against any department is just that, perceived. Due to the fact that personnel costs are by far the largest single expenditure, I feel it’s important to focus more attention on those figures. The only sector of City government I personally take issue with is the “recreational” sector which spends tens of millions on public leisure while we continue to go deeper into debt and lack the ability to even build a school without substantial federal grants.
This review prints out at 12 pages in Microsoft Word. If you would like a PDF copy please contact me via Facebook (link is at the very bottom) and I will gladly send you one.
Each fiscal year begins on July 1. This review is for FY 2014.
Rutherford County had been ranked third in the nation for employment growth in 2012, by 2013 the Bureau of Labor Statistics upgraded the ranking to second in the country for employment growth. Murfreesboro’s population has risen 58% since 2000, however population growth has slowed for the last two published years. [pgs. 23, 25] For recent years, an annual population growth figure of 5% per year should be used to determine if certain figures (like number of citations issued) fall within expected ranges.
The main concerns for the City are its debt, how to accurately predict growth, and how to plan for the future while national trends are still unstable. The City’s population growth exceeds the national average by 200% and has been among the fastest growing cities in the nation for many years. The problem I see is that the City government expects our growth to continue at this pace indefinitely which has the potential for putting our economic foundation in grave danger. Detroit underwent a similar period of growth for decades and then collapsed, we must avoid this.
For the purposes of taxation, the property valuation within the City (real property, personal property, etc.) is assessed at $2,780,591,800. This is a decrease of 1.15% since last year. [pg. 269]
Select list of future plans in budget
Initiate planning for a park in west Murfreesboro
Beginning construction of the Stones River Greenway extension to Barfield Crescent Park
Contributing to MTSU’s Science Building
Building an indoor tennis complex in conjunction with MTSU
Fund pay increases and longevity pay for full-time personnel
Opening a golf teaching facility for youth
Retrofitting traffic signals from incandescent bulbs to LEDs
Installing GPS units on Rover buses and solid waste vehicles
Updating downtown parking fine schedule
Funding for new police vehicles
Replace elevator at Linebaugh Library
Renovating Sports*Com, Patterson Park, McFadden Community Center, McKnight Park, and Oakland Park
Drafting a Parks and Recreation Master Plan
General Fund revenues total $113.37 million, reflecting a 1% increase over last year. It should be noted that revenues have still not returned to the level seen in FY 2009. The 2012-13 budget posted a 2.63% revenue increase. [pg. 14]
For the 15th year in a row, the City has decided not to increase the property tax rate. Despite population growth, revenues from property taxes will decrease $414,000 from FY 2013 and the amount projected to be collected in FY 2014 will be the smallest since FY 2010. From FY 2011 to FY 2014 property tax revenues will have increased a mere 1.1%. [pg. 14]
Sales taxes have been increased each year since FY 2010. For FY 2014 revenue from sales taxes are expected to rise 3.6%, or $1.5 million. From FY 2011 to FY 2014 sale tax revenues has increased 13.8%. [pg. 15]
The total General Fund expenditures are $118.22 million, an increase of 0.76% over FY 2013. This means another year of deficit spending. $4.85 million in deficit spending to be exact. This is slightly less than the $4.95 million in deficit spending last year. [pgs. 15-16]
The City plans to issue $25 million in new debt this year.
Healthcare [pg. 17]
The City experienced a 100% increase in large claims over FY 2012, raising claims paid by $690,000. Medical inflation on other claims is expected to increase by 7% for FY 2013 and for FY 2014, insurance premiums will increase approx. 16% over last year.
Pay increases [pgs. 21-22]
The City conducted a study based on “market rate” compensation plans for similar positions around the country. A review of the study yielded 3 possibilities for pay increases.
Option 1: Adjust each pay grade by 1.7%. This cost (including FICA and retirement) would equal $685,135
Option 2: Do not change pay steps, but employees move one pay step. Topped out employees would not receive an increase. This option would result in a 3.5% increase and cost $1.18 million
Option 3: Drops one step and add a new top step. Employees would move one step (3.5% increase in pay) and would cost $1.4 million
The City opted to go with option 3, an annual pay increase of $1.4 million.
General Fund Overview [pg. 40]
Revenues have risen 11.5% since 2010-2011. Revenues for FY 2014 are $113,365,751. Revenues from 2010 to FY 2014 equaled $432,497,327.
The City’s revenue stream includes around $410,000 from the County (mostly from hotel tax and for senior citizens), $11.5 million from the State (mostly from sales taxes and TVA tax), and $4.6 million from the Federal government, of that $3,074,000 is from Greenway grants. In total, for 2014 the City expects intergovernmental revenues of $16,459,569, an increase of $2,370,682 over last year.
Charges for Services (fees paid to use facilities etc.) equal $4.7 million for General Fund revenues. Approx. 31% ($1,457,000) comes from the Recreation Dept. and 42% ($1,974,000) comes from the Public Golf Courses. [pg. 56]
Expenditures have increased 15.2% over the same time period.
Expenditures from 2010 to FY 2014 equaled $435,096,790. FY 2012 was the only year in which actual expenditures were less than revenue. For FY 2013 and FY 2014, expenditures created a combined deficit of $6.12 million.
Personnel costs account for 48% of the budget, by far the largest single type of expenditure while total operating costs equal 19% of overall expenditures. [pg. 62]
Here are the net increases/decreases for each department’s budget from FY 2010 to FY 2014. [FY 2013 budget pg. 41, FY 2014 budget pg. 40]
FY 2010 FY 2014 Change
Revenue $108,762,133 $113,365,751 + 4.23%
Expenditures $106,512,355 $118,220,559 +11%
General Administration – 4.47% Information Technology (begins 2011/12) +82.63%
Communications +72% Legal +18.9%
Human Resources +41.3% Judicial +30.2%
Police +24.47% Fire +17.8%
Building & Codes +6.38% *Planning & Engineering - 47%
Transportation -6.7% Street +42.5%
Urban Environmental +22.32% Civic Plaza +24%
Parking Garage +67.64% Recreation +57.53%
Senior Citizens +5.47% Golf Courses +19.2%
Solid waste - 10% Public Health & Welfare +5.5%
Departmental Transfers - 11.37% Misc. + 64.6%
* In FY 2014 the Engineering segment of was splIt off to become its own department.
Some minor funds will not be described below, however, any departments and funds with employees will be.
The average total personnel cost (real salary plus benefits) per employee figure is derived by taking the total amount of employee payments and dividing it by the total number of employees (including part-time employees). Thus, the figure is only meant to give a general idea of the amount each employee is getting, obviously some will make more and others much less than this average figure. Averages for departments with a majority part-time workforce will only include salaries/wages, all others will include benefits in the overall average pay per employee.
Benefits include, Social Security, medical & dental insurance, pension plan, retirement, life insurance, and workers’ compensation.
Comparisons of personnel cost increases or decreases are only done for departments which have only had minimal changes in their total employee number. The average cost increase equals less than a $0.75 raise per hour per employee each year, although variations do exist.
General Administration [pgs. 67-71] – $4,339,331 total budget with 33 total employees (5 part-time). Salaries & wages are $1,412,574 with an additional $553,776 in benefits for a total of $1,966,350. This equals $59,586/employee. Personnel costs equals 45% of the Department’s budget.
Information Technology Dept. [pgs. 76-77] – $1,520,665 total budget with 12 employees (1 part-time). Total salaries & wages equal $595,122 with an additional $220,293 in benefits for a total of $815,415 in personnel costs. This equals $67,951/employee. Personnel costs grew 29% since FY 2011 while only adding one employee, a “help desk support specialist.” Personnel costs equal 53.5% of the Department’s budget.
Communications Dept. [pgs. 80-83] – $728,851 total budget with 8 employees (2 part-time). Salaries & wages are $387,568 plus $144,880 in benefits for a total of $532,488 in personnel costs. This comes to $66,556/employee. Personnel costs equal 73% of the Department’s budget.
Legal Dept. [pgs. 86-88] – $810,292 total budget with 7 employees. Salaries & wages are $548,825 plus $188,567 in benefits for a total of $737,392 in personnel costs. This comes to $105,341/employee. Personnel costs equal 91% of the Department’s budget.
Human Resources Dept. [pgs. 91-93] – $914,210 total budget with 9 employees. Salaries & wages are $471,022 plus $199,648 in benefits for a total of $670,670 in personnel costs. This comes to $74,518/employee. Personnel costs have actually decreased 7.6% since FY 2011 without any changes in total personnel numbers. Personnel costs equal 73.3% of the Department’s budget.
Drug screening costs (this would be the total cost for all potential City employees) came to $47,500 and advertising costs were $5,000. Miscellaneous expenses (which includes drug screenings, surveys, testing etc.) have nearly doubled since FY 2011, growing from $89,899 to $175,500.
Judicial Dept. [pgs. 95-97] – $458,006 total budget with 6 employees. Salaries & wages are $254,869 plus $124,962 in benefits for a total of $379,831 in personnel costs. This comes to $63,305/employee. Without any gain/loss of employees, the personnel budget has increased 12.8% since FY 2011. Personnel costs equal nearly 82% of the Department’s budget.
Court fines receivable are expected to be below FY 2013 levels at $3,500,000 and the department is expected to process 80,000 citations (which is up from 57,000 in FY 2011).
Police Dept. [pgs. 102-106] – $25,111,237 total budget with 316 employees (34 part-time). Salaries & wages equal $14,082,012 plus $6,262,418 in benefits for a total of $20,344,430 in personnel costs. This comes to $63,775/employee. Total personnel costs have risen 11.9% since FY 2011 despite there being 1 less employee compared to then. Salaries & wages by themselves grew 12.6%. Personnel costs equal 79.3% of the Department’s budget.
Selected numbers on Police operations/performance expected for FY 2014 and compared to FY 2011:
Total calls received 265,000 (40,000 are 911 calls) - this is an increase of 42.7% (a 2% increase in 911 calls).
Total number of crashes 4,903 (an increase of 10.1%), fatal crashes have fluctuated but the overall trend is a decline with between 3-4 fatalities likely in FY 2014, compared to 6 in FY 2011.
Number of arrests are expected to reach 9,000, an increase of 13.3%.
Traffic citations grew between 2011 and 2013, however they are expected to fall this year and from FY 2011 to FY 2014 the rate is a net increase of 18.4%.
Automated Red Light Citations are expected to have grown 93%.
K-9 deployments are expected to have risen 142%.
Overall, with the exception of automated citations and K-9 deployments, the rate of increases fit within the expected ranges given population growth.
Fire & Rescue Dept. [pgs. 111-115] – $15,686,801 total budget with 189 employees (2 part-time). Salaries & wages are $9,711,006 with $4,490,504 in benefits for a total of $14,201,510 in personnel costs. This equals $75,140/employee. Total personnel costs have risen 13.6% with 2 fewer employees than in FY 2011. However, when considering only wages, those have increased just 8.7%. Personnel costs equal 89.5% of the Department’s budget.
Selected numbers on Fire & Rescue operations/performance expected for FY 2014 and compared to FY 2011:
Expected number of emergency calls for FY 2014 are 7,900, a sharp decrease of 27.6%. I’m not sure how they arrived at this figure since the FY 2013 estimates for that year were 10,419.
Number of fire per 1,000 population are unchanged from FY 2011.
Estimated property saved from fire is down 23.8% (again, based on a decrease in expected fire calls).
Response times and the percentage of property saved from a fire has remained relatively stable over the years.
Building & Codes [pgs. 116-121] – $1,808,556 total budget with 23 employees (1 part-time).
Salaries & wages are $1,198,583 plus $453,379 in benefits which comes to $1,651,962 in personnel costs. This equals $71,824/employee. Personnel costs are 91.1% of the Department’s total budget.
An interesting figure, for 2012 new residential construction was valued at $378 million, an increase of nearly $176 million over 2011.
Planning Dept. [pgs. 125-127] – $904,000 total budget with 7 employees. Salaries & wages are $444,928 with $164,272 in benefits which comes to $609,200 in personnel costs. This comes to $87,028/employee and makes up 67.3% of the Department’s budget.
The department’s productivity (number of items within their workload such as public hearings, studies, plan reviews etc.) for FY 2014 is expected to reach 988 items, an increase of 21% since FY 2011. The number of annexation studies grew from 1 in 2011 to 10 for 2014.
Advertising costs for the department are expected to be $18,000 and surveys & studies comes to $210,000.
Engineering Division [pg. 136] – Full budget is not currently available since the division is new. About $300,000 of the Division’s personnel cost is funded by the storm water user fee.
Transportation Dept. [pgs. 128-134] – $2,925,361 total budget with 27 employees (9 part-time). Salaries & wages are $938,369 with an additional $335,937 in benefits for a total of $1,274,306 in personnel costs. This comes to $47,196/employee. Personnel costs equal 27% of the Department’s budget.
The City operates 137 signalized intersections. Public transportation operations funding for local and regional transportation services is between the Federal Trans. Administration, TDOT, and the City. Operations funding is generally split on a 50% federal, 25% state, and 25% local cost basis. Capital finding is split 80% federal, 10% state, and 10% local.
The Rover Bus system has seen continual growth with ridership numbers reaching around 265,000 in 2013, an increase of about 130% since 2008. In January 2011, I estimated that the Rover system had an additional $2 million economic beneficial impact on our local economy. Based solely on ridership, that number would be $2.6 million today.
Street Division [pgs. 141-145] – $5,492,934 total budget with 39 employees (1 part-time). Salaries & wages are $1,848,033 with an added $823,460 in benefits which comes to $2,671,493 in personnel costs. This equals $68,499/employee. Personnel costs equals 48.6% of the Division’s budget.
The City Council instructed the Street Division to implement a 20-year plan for repaving City streets. Currently, the Division oversees 593 linear miles of City streets and State routes and installed 501 regulatory street signs for 2013. For FY 2014, the Division expects to resurface 56 miles of road, install or repair 700 signs, and collect roughly 1.7 million pounds of leaves & yard waste which would otherwise have been sent to the landfill.
Urban Environmental Dept. [pgs. 147-151] – $1,112,211 total budget with 15 employees. Salaries & wages are $546,168 with an added $311,093 in benefits for a total of $857,261 in personnel costs. This comes to $57,150/employee. Personnel costs equal 77% of the Department’s budget. Personnel costs increased 16.7% since FY 2011 with no changes in the total number of employees.
This department is responsible for the overall “beauty” of the City which includes landscaping and other primarily arboricultural projects. Within the department is 50 City owned properties and 2.2 million square feet of turf and landscaped areas.
For FY 2014 an estimated 6 trees will be replaced downtown, 2 City TV episodes will be created, and 2 tree appreciation program events held.
Civic Plaza [pgs. 152-154] – $104,600 total budget with 1 employee. Salaries & wages are $27,625 with an added $9,326 in benefits which comes to $36,951 in total personnel costs. Personnel costs have actually fallen 17.5% since FY 2011, this is mainly due to a decrease in medical & dental insurance costs. Personnel costs equal 35.3% of the Department’s total budget.
Since Rutherford County owns a portion of the plaza the maintenance costs are shared, 58.5% City and 41.5% County. The plaza fountain will cost $1,200 this year and $7,500 is budgeted to be spent on landscaping/hardscaping.
Parking Garage [pgs. 155-157] – $184,487 total budget, no employees.
The parking garage (under Civic Plaza, City Hall and the library) is also jointly funded with 68.5% coming from the City and 31.5% County. Some elevators are planned to be replaced at an expense of $67,000. Electricity costs comprise the bulk of expenditures and will be $106,000 this year. Sweeping costs are $5,400.
Parks & Rec Dept. [pgs. 158-169] – $11,712,749 total budget with 326 employees (256 part-time). Salaries & wages are $4,341,750 with an added $1,466,872 in benefits for a total of $5,805,622 in personnel costs. Salaries and wages comes to $37,666 per full-time employee and $6,660 per part-time employee. Total personnel costs equal 49.3% of the Department’s budget.
Total revenues from all sources (fees, rentals, grants etc.) are $4,791,650.
Parks & Rec maintains approx. 1,115 acres worth of parks and greenways and $150 million in assets which includes 28 sites and 74 buildings. According to the budget, the tournaments held in Murfreesboro which use public facilities have an estimated economic impact of $27 million/year. The budget also lists “financial assistance” as $415,000, but I’m unsure as to what that entails.
The 11.6 miles of Greenways detailed in the budget amounts to a cost of $1.88 million per mile to build ($21.8 million total). Of that cost, 76% came from grants, 20.9% from the City, and 0.47% from donations.
Utility costs are $1,026,325. For FY 2014 the administrative office purchased 24 new computers at a cost of $20,400. Additional exercise equipment, chairs, computers, TVs etc. came to $559,566.
Senior Citizens Dept. [pgs. 174-175] – $928,892 total budget with 18 employees (9 part-time). Salaries & wages are $432,897 with an added $162,374 in benefits which comes to $595,271 in personnel costs. This equals $33,070/employee and personnel costs make up 64% of the Department’s budget.
The Department brings in $140,100 in revenues from grants, programs, and fees.
Public Golf Course Dept. [pgs. 180-187] – $2,061,436 total budget with 55 employees (41 part-time). Salaries & wages are $924,060 ($265,477 is for part-time employees), with an added $339,785 in benefits which comes to $1,263,845 in personnel costs. This equals $47,041 in salaries per full-time employee and $6,475 in wages per part-time employee. Total personnel costs equals 61.3% of the Department’s budget.
An estimated 64,000 paid rounds of golf will be played at the Old Fort and VA golf courses (combined). Revenues from concessions and merchandise are expected to bring in $408,000
Solid Waste Dept. [pgs. 189-192] – $4,579,852 total budget with 42 employees (1 part-time). Salaries & wages are $1,543,793 plus an added $910,102 in benefits for a total of $2,453,895 in personnel costs. This equals $58,426/employee and personnel costs comprise 53.5% of the Department’s budget.
The Department services 42,000 households and 6,000 businesses and for FY 2013 disposed of or mulched 61,339 tons of garbage and brush.
Health, Education and Welfare Dept. [pgs. 194-196] – $2,135,939 total budget with zero employees.
Funding for the Public Library system is divided on a 44% City and 56% County basis. $751,974 comes from this department to fund Linebaugh Library and $333,333 is going to help fund MTSU’s new science building. Tourist oriented expenses come to $470,500.
Fund Transfers [pg.197] – These transfers are movements of funds between City departments. The total for FY 2014 is $31,957,366 with $27,067,263 going to Debt Service, $4,810,103 to City Schools, and $80,000 to the Drug Fund. There are no department employees.
Debt Service Fund [pgs. 203-211] – $31,271,821 in expenditures with $5,038,313 in interest payments.
The City’s credit rating is unchanged from last year. S&P gave the City a rating of AA- in 2012 and Aa2 by Moody’s in 2009. The City continues to expect a 91% principle debt pay-off in 10 years. The City has a debt limit of $417,088,770 and our debt equals 57.91% of that limit.
The City anticipates issuing $24 million in new debt (fixed rate), part of which will help pay for the new west-side school.
Street Aid Fund [pgs. 213-215] – $2,800,350 total budget with no employees. $2,800,000 comes from the State Fuel Tax allocation and this fund is used to maintain streets within the City limits.
Airport Fund [pgs.216-221] – $6,120,284 total budget with 7 employees (6 part-time). Salaries & wages are $157,731 with an added $42,201 in benefits for a total of $199,932 in personnel costs. This comes to $28,561/employee and personnel costs equals 3.2% of the Fund’s total budget.
The City estimates the economic benefit of the airport at $70 million annually. Revenues equal $6,120,284 which makes the airport self-sufficient from the point of view of the City. However, $4,687,250 comes from federal grants (76.4% of total revenue).
Drug Fund [pgs. 224-225] – $293,650 total budget with $150,000 in personnel costs. The Drug Fund reimburses the General Fund for overtime expenses incurred by Vice officers.
Of the total budget, $80,000 comes from property seizures and a further $160,000 comes from court fines.
Community Development Fund [pgs. 226-230] – $1,064,028 total budget with 3 employees (1 part-time). Salaries & wages are $73,049 plus an added $57,130 in benefits which comes to $130,179 in total personnel costs. This equals $43,393/employee and personnel costs are 12.2% of the Fund’s total budget.
The Fund is used for affordable housing, social services, and improvements and economic development. Funding is appropriated by Congress via HUD. This fund is fully paid for by grants and income generated by the programs.
Risk Management Fund [pgs. 246-247] – $3,905,049 total budget with 3 employees. Salaries & wages are $221,831 with an added $65,865 in benefits for a total of $287,696 in personnel costs. This comes to $95,898/employee and personnel costs equals 7.3% of the Fund’s budget.
The largest expenditures are insurance claim related which will be $2,914,781.
Fleet Services [pgs. 249-251] – $2,364,105 total budget with 13 employees. Salaries & wages are $628,846 with an added $304,066 in benefits which totals $932,912 in personnel costs. This equals $71,762/employee and personnel costs are 39.4% of the Department’s total budget.
The Department manages 731 vehicles and rolling stock.
Job Classification & Compensation Plan
From budget pages 286-292.
The City has 790 employees, an increase of 3 from last year. Total personnel costs equal $56,867,852 which is an increase of 2.3% over last year. Simply using the number of employees and total personnel costs, the average pay per employee would be $71,984 (benefits included).
The City’s compensation plan is divided into nine steps, with Step 1 being the lowest. The top pay grade is the City Manager at $169,591/yr (at maximum level), and the lowest is $21,000/yr for the night watchman in the Solid Waste Dept. (entry level).
-- Jacob Bogle