Manager: Budget gap could reach $3 million

Mar. 10, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

The city is facing a budget shortfall that could reach $3 million, but officials are trying to ensure that won’t translate into bad news for taxpayers.
While High Point’s major revenue sources are projected to bring in about the same amount of money in the 2013-14 fiscal year, officials have identified several million dollars the city gets through the state and Guilford County that could be cut.
That adds up to a projected gap between revenues and expenditures of $2.5 million to $3 million for the budget year that takes effect July 1, said City Manger Strib Boynton. The projection is based on funding everything at current levels without adding new initiatives.
The city’s entire operating budget totals about $328 million, with an additional capital budget of about $140 million.
The City Council has given Boynton direction to produce a budget with no property tax rate increase, so officials could be faced with making cuts to make up for a reduction in revenue.
“There are some that would like to have a budget with a tax decrease. I’m going to be thrilled if we can come in flat, without an increase,” he said. “We’ve got a challenge meeting that expectation of the council and the community and still maintaining services.”
Officials are projecting water and sewer and electric rate increases, however.
Boynton said there are several ongoing projects that will be fully funded in next year’s budget. These include the expansion of the Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant, replacement of an incinerator at the Eastside Wastewater Treatment Plant to comply with state standards, and replacement of a conveyor belt and baler used in the city’s recycling program at the Material Recovery Facility.
The city normally gets $200,000 to $300,000 in requests from various nonprofits and other outside agencies during the budget process. Boynton said about $1 million worth of such requests have come in so far, but the city won’t be able to fund near that amount.
“I know in the next 60 to 90 days, there’s several more million coming in that somehow the city’s supposed to use public dollars to finance this or that initiative,” Boynton said. “Each one is perfect, it’s wonderful in its own right, but we haven’t got the dollars.”