Manhattan Finance Department Director Bernie Hayen says the city is going to have to find another revenue source going forward to shore up the city’s financial situation. He presented the information during the city department goal-setting session Tuesday.
The City of Manhattan had to make some tough choices in the 2018 budget, with plateauing revenues not meeting past growth projections. This has led some commissioners to raise the possibility of staff cuts this year. The city instituted a hiring freeze to help shore up ending cash reserves in the general fund, which Hayen says was successful. They ended the year with and ending cash balance of $3.6 million when their goal was $2 million.
“Probably one of the largest ending balances that i’ve seen in the last ten years. It goes back to those days when we really were doing quite well and had anywhere from $3.5 million to $4 million ending cash.”
He says that the sales tax already makes up a higher portion
Hayen pointed out that property taxes only provide about 12 percent of the general fund’s money to demonstrate how they cannot rely on new properties to provide enough tax revenue to be able to manage growing costs, salaries and manpower needs — especially with multiple community projects (such as the planned new recreation centers) that will need to be paid for from the fund.
And as the city is up against the state’s property tax lid, they can’t just raise the mill levy without voter approval, either. The city has also helped out the fund using transfers and loans from the utilities fund, which Hayen says can’t keep happening forever as there are multiple planned water and sewer projects that will need the money.
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