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Published: Monday, 11/16/2009

Finkbeiner's last budget includes $30.2 million deficit


Mayor Carty Finkbeiner turned in his last proposed budget Monday with a $30.2 million deficit that will likely fall to the next mayor and City Council to balance.

Mr. Finkbeiner said the city has cut services to the bone and must raise taxes to continue to keep the city clean and safe.

He urged council to enact a $16 per month trash collection fee and to eliminate the income tax credit enjoyed by city residents who work in other communities with a payroll tax.

He also advocated raising the temporary 0.75 percent income tax that has been renewed regularly since 1982 to 1 percent.

Mr. Finkbeiner said council would do Mayor-elect Mike Bell a favor by enacting the revenue enhancements before Mr. Bell takes office.

But several city council members Monday put the chances of raising trash fees and cutting the income tax credit in 2009 at slim to none.

The total proposed budget of $241.2 million would provide for a new fire class of 40 starting in January and a new police class of 40 to start in September.

However, without tax increases, city revenue sources would generate about $211 million.

Mr. Finkbeiner said economists are warning that the automobile manufacturing economy won't bounce back enough in 2010 to project an increase beyond $147 million in payroll tax revenues.

And he said the city's other major budget sources — including property taxes and state revenue sharing — will fall as well.

The 2010 budget must be passed by March 31. The mayor is required under the city charter to submit a proposed balanced budget for the next year by Nov. 15.

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