Last week, the city of Diamondhead hosted a public hearing on the FY '20 budget.
Diamondhead City Manager Michael Reso said that the city's budget is a plan that projects and estimates revenues based on historical data, future needs of the city, and the goals that would best serve the city's residents.
Reso added that major expenditures included in the budget presentation will require council approval during a separate vote.
Reso said that his mission as city manager is to "create a city that people want to buy homes and open businesses."
Reso said that his focuses include public safety, amenities, commercial development, and providing public services in an efficient manner.
Reso said the FY '20 proposed total budgeted expenditures are about $8.2 million.
The revenues are projected to be about $6.8 million, he said, with a projected deficit of $1.4 million.
"Why the deficit?" Reso asked. "We are recommending a lot of other projects that are outside of just generic operations."
This current year, Reso said. the city is undergoing a slab removal program. There was $100,000 budgeted for the program, but the city delayed the program by about 90 days.
"So we're going to end up having to push that into next year's, when we're actually spending the money doing the project," he said.
There's $900,000, which won't be spent this year, for street paving, Reso said.
Reso said there is a $125,000 line item for the city's 25-year comprehensive plan.
He added that there are repairs related to moisture problems that need to completed on the bottom floor of city hall. There is $30,000 budgeted for that item.
There is $25,000 budgeted for a parking lot for the police department, Reso said.
There is $15,000 budgeted for repairs related to leakage in the chapel room.
Reso said the city is also looking at creating more ADA access in the parking lot at city hall. $60,000 is budgeted for that endeavor.
The projected cash balance is about $4.3 million, Reso said, to start the year.
"Once we go through the year and spend out, we should have about $2.9 million in cash ending the year," Reso said.
There are two contingency funds set up, each with about a $1 million, he said.
At the end of FY '20, the city will have an unrestricted ending cash balance of $798,510, Reso said.
Reso said the proposed millage rate is 34 mills, which has remained the same for the past few years.
"Our estimated total assessed valuation by Jimmy Ladner's office is $106 million, versus 104 for the previous year," Reso said. "One mill will generate $94,000 for next year's budget, which is a slight increase. We were at $90,000 last year. That's all good and it's based on growth that's happening in our community."
Reso said that sales tax projections are about $653,000.
Of the total revenues, unrestricted funds total about $4.9 million, Reso said. Grant funds, which are restricted use, totals about $1.1 million, he said. The solid waste line item totals $659,109, the fire department fund totals $521 and the MS Infrastructure Modification Fund totals $20,000.
Reso also broke down what the grant revenues are being used for: The Montjoy Creek Multi-Modal Path ($80,000); Commercial Area Connectivity Study ($60,000); and the East Aloha widening ($136,000 MDOT project).
The grants also include 20 percent matching funds, Reso said. The Tidelands funds are 100 percent funded with a zero local match. Those projects include the $325,000 Devil's Elbow dredging project; the $288,000 Montjoy Creek improvements; and the $250,000 public access to Montjoy Creek.
Reso said there are no new budgeted staff positions, but he said there is a proposed two percent increase "across the board for all salaries."
The total budget for the council and mayor totals $61,000 and the proposed budget includes an annual salary increase for the mayor from $12,000 to $15,000, Reso said, and a council member increase from $2,400 to $5,000.
The budget includes a proposed $5,000 salary increase for the city clerk since she completed her degree this year, Reso said.
The proposed administration budget is $1.3 million. The proposed legislative budget is $61,827 and the proposed judicial budget is $187,373.
Since July 2012, the city has had an interlocal agreement with the Hancock County Sheriff's Office to provide personnel for the city's police department, Reso said.
"The city is responsible for providing all equipment and the sheriff's office provides the officers," Reso said.
So far this year, officers have responded to about 6,901 calls, he added.
The officers also provide house checks when residents are away, business checks at night, fingerprinting services, and welfare checks. The police department proposed budget is $976,461, which includes 12 contracted officers through the interlocal agreement (one captain, one investigator, and 10 officers).
The building planning and zoning proposed budget is $375,097, Reso said.
So far this year, the building department has issued 908 building permits (of that is 54 new homes); completed more than 1,500 inspections and found 324 code violations.
The public works proposed budget is $3.1 million, Reso said.
The budget for economic development is $62,412, he said.
City-sponsored annual events include: The Blessing of the Classics; Town Green Christmas Celebration; and National Night Out.
Reso said he will be asking the council for new city-sponsored events, a BBQ cookoff event and a kayak event.
Reso named the various organizations that the city also contributes to monetarily:
• $500 to American Red Cross
• $6,100 to CASA
• $500 to the sheriff's youth camp
• $30,000 to the library
• $2,000 to the Hancock Resource Center
• $1,000 to Hancock Tourism
• $9,600 to the Diamondhead SPCA
The total of the city's debt service payment for FY '20 $174,354, Reso said.
Reso said that something new for the city to watch for is the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2018.
"This is the Internet sales tax proceeds that will be distributed to the cities based on population and your prior year sales tax revenue," Reso said. "The purpose of that is to help cities repair, maintain, or construct roads, bridges, streets, as well as improving water and sewage infrastructure. Funds will be distributed to cities in January and July annually. Every city in the state is guaranteed to get a minimum of $20,000 annually from that bucket. Over time, it is projected that our city will be receiving an estimated $175,000 annually from this new source of revenue."
Reso also mentioned some accomplishments for FY '19:
• The interstate lighting
• Completed renovations to city hall to accommodate the police department
• Purchased body cameras for police officers
• Purchased license plate readers for the police department
• Updated the GIS software with digital engineering
• Drainage projects
Upcoming projects for FY '20 include:
• East Aloha Drive improvements
• Land acquisition for drainage lots and permanent green space and future roads
• Montjoy Creek erosion project
• Montjoy Creek nature trail and public access
• The 25-year Comprehensive Plan
No one spoke about the budget during public comments.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for Sept. 3 at 6 p.m.