|Mayor highlights $18.7 million in cost savings, begins lean budget discussion
Mayor Battle keeps promise of "new era of fiscal responsibility," praises city workers
HUNTSVILLE, AL (July 22, 2009) - Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle today announced more than $18.7 million dollars in savings that have accumulated during his first 9 months in office. The savings, coming from both the general budget and capital plan, were a result of a combination of factors - including $5.5 million dollars in savings by not purchasing fleet equipment, more than $7 million dollars in personnel savings as a result of the City's continued hiring freeze (with more than 220 city positions open), and nearly $2 million dollars in utility and fuel savings.
"Since day one of this administration, we've talked about having a new era of fiscal responsibility," said Mayor Battle. "This is $18.7 million dollars that is going back into our community."
Mayor Battle praised the work of various City of Huntsville departments and their employees for their hard work in difficult times.
"We have not cut services - through tough times we are finding ways to double-up and save money," added Mayor Battle. "Our city employees have been asked to do more with less - and these savings are because of them."
The City of Huntsville is finding more savings by allowing the Departments of Public Works and Landscape Management to do projects in-house that were previously out-sourced. The City of Huntsville's Department of Engineering was also highlighted for bringing in multiple projects in well under-budget. Overall, Mayor Battle said, that each and every department of city government had helped contribute to the savings by limiting training and travel for employees, as well as enforcing the continued hiring freeze.
"All of our departments have looked for ways to stretch the dollar - everyone across the board has worked to save tax dollars," Battle added.
With a lingering financial crisis, Mayor Tommy Battle also pointed out that the City's next budget would be a lean one. Battle committed that the City of Huntsville would work to keep full-employment for its workers and not to cut basic city services. Mayor Battle later added that the upcoming budget "would be a tough one" and that the City's reserve fund would likely be tapped again. Battle also noted that for the first time in more than 20 years, the city was facing declining revenues.
"We're planning toward a budget that is going to be $5-10 million dollars below projections," said Mayor Battle. "Tax revenue is down - and the next budget will have to reflect that."
Mayor Battle ended his remarks by again praising the work of City Employees.
"Like the rest of the country, we're doing everything we can to make our budget work," concluded Battle. "We want everyone to feel like part of the family here."
$3.0 million in payroll savings
$3.1 million in shaved payroll savings
$1.6 million in additional payroll savings (Acting Department Heads, etc)
$5.5 million in Fleet savings
$1.65 million in utility/fuel savings
$1.1 million in cost saving measures
$1.1 million in construction project savings
$15k from Courthouse Square project
$86k from Explorer Blvd. Project
$111k from downtown bridge project
$21k from sewer pump station savings
$723k from landscape management
$700k in long term savings from TIFF III