Proposed Henderson budget hikes taxes, fees

Before delving into some of the details of his proposed fiscal year 2011 budget, Henderson City Manager Ray Griffin characterized the document as “the worst budget since 1981”.

Griffin debuted the proposed budget during the Henderson City Council’s work session yesterday evening in a PowerPoint presentation.

Noting that Henderson has been in a “recession mode” since 2001, the city manager went on to term the budget as “no-frills” and “seriously constrained”.

The budget entails a four cent property tax increase per $100 of valuation, a $.50 monthly sanitation increase, a 5% water rate increase, a 3% sewer rate increase, and a regional water rate increase of 5%.

Each penny increase in the ad valorum tax rate equals $83,850 in revenue for the city. A one cent increase on a home valued at $250,000 is $25 per year.

1% of the water fund increase will be devoted to a capital fund for water plant expansion.

According to Griffin’s presentation, revenue sources have either remained flat or decreased in the last several years. Property tax is down by $60,000, sales tax is down by $100,000, and city investment returns are down $50,000.

Although there are no planned staff layoffs of furloughs of city employees, there will also be no cost-of-living adjustments, no merit increases, nor will there be any career development money for city workers.

Good news for city employees is that there will be no increase in employee health insurance premiums.

The budget will unfreeze the positions of assistant finance director and public utilities director.

Included in the budget are funds to start replacing aging water mains with galvanized/concrete lines, continuing work on the sewer in the Sandy Creek Basin area, and moving to replace the UV disinfection system at the water plant.

During his presentation, Griffin stressed the need for economic development several times.

“With all of that said, I believe the glass is still half-full,” Griffin said at the end of his presentation, punctuating the need to maintain a positive outlook.