Law enforcement --- including the Paws and Claws animal shelter, patrol cars and uniformed officers --- is the top funding priority in the City of Apache Junction’s 2020-21 budget, as it was the previous six years.
The $13.1 million public-safety section in the budget includes an increase of more than $797,000 over the previous fiscal year’s expenses and $1.5 million from a gifts and grants fund.
Total budgeted General Fund expenditures for fiscal year 2020-21 --- such as the mayor and City Council, to the city manager, the library and public safety --- are $31,568,170.
The amount combining the General Fund with special revenue --- such as Highway User Revenue Funds, street projects, lighting districts, and the gifts and grants fund --- is $50,713,195.
The final budget adoption is slated for a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, in the City Council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.
Because of federal and state decisions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on revenue to the City of Apache Junction, the 2020-21 budget --- which had been started at the beginning of the year --- had to be redone, officials said.
“(We) had to adapt on our budget approach real quickly after all of this happened, as we worked with departments in January-February on putting together budgets based on certain assumptions and then everything was flipped on us in March,” Assistant City Manager Matt Busby said at a recent work session discussion on the budget.
Because of economic uncertainties, the budget calls for revenue from local sales taxes being held flat, budget to budget, City Manager Bryant Powell said.
“We don’t know yet --- we’ve only had three months of some revenue coming in. We are very interested in tracking,” he said.
City officials have prepared a budget with a conservative approach, the city manager said.
“Budgets actually start, in terms of proposing and looking at future revenues and how they may develop --- in January, six months ahead. And it was definitely a different world in January and February and so we started out with a certain way of thinking on the budget and now we have what we have before you, which is a very, very conservative approach, to this budget,” Mr. Powell said to council members.
“Because of the uncertainties of the impact of the public health concerns that we have in COVID-19, we --- the city employees and all of us here, the mayor and City Council --- want to continue the primary duties of public servants to the residents of Apache Junction by seeking and to ensure their health, safety, welfare; and we’ve given that guidance as a mission and a perspective as our mission is to help that way. So I would call our theme for this year’s budget ‘Preparing for the unknown,’” City Manager Powell said.
The budget is to include pandemic-related expenditure grant funding made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27.
Arizona CARES Act funding focuses on public-safety payroll expenses incurred March 1, 2020 through the end of the year, Assistant City Manager Busby said.
The City of Apache Junction’s portion of the funding is $4.8 million. State officials say once the city is reimbursed, it can deploy local resources to any purpose decided upon by that jurisdiction, Mr. Busby said.
“So, what we have to do next --- and we’re gathering the estimates and everything that the state’s asking for --- is that we have to submit what we have already spent since March 1, 2020 on public-safety salary and benefits; and then our estimate of what we’ll spend through Dec. 31, 2020,” he said.
“So, we’re gathering that. Once we apply for that --- which will be much more than $4.8 million, but we’ll show that --- they’ll release that $4.8 million funding for our local jurisdiction,” he said.
No decision was made on where to spend the money, but priorities discussed included the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and those unable to pay their rent.
“$4.8 million sounds like a lot of money, but we have a huge impact upon our city that our citizens and our businesses and the city has had to deal with. Sometimes because we didn’t even have a choice to deal with them,” Councilmember Jeff Struble said. “We will use the money the most effective and efficient way that we can.”
Funding sources for the fiscal year 2020-21 budget include the city’s sales tax --- 2.4% total, with .2% of it earmarked for transportation uses only, an estimated $1,080,000, and the remainder generating $13,640,245; licenses and permits, $368,060; state sales tax, $4,702,315; state-shared revenues, $6,062,210; and court fines, $430,000.
The planned expenditures of the top five departments funded for fiscal year 2020-21 are:
Documents detailing the municipal budgets are at ajcity.net/78/Current-Budget-Information.
Total budgeted General Fund expenditures for fiscal year 2019-20 --- such as the mayor and city council, to the city manager, the library and public safety --- were $30,904,810.
The planned expenditures of the top five departments funded for fiscal year 2019-20 were:
In 2018-19, the General Fund set aside $28,900,895 for departments, with an estimated $26,937,224 in actual expenditures. The expenditures of the top five departments funded were:
In 2017-18, the General Fund had an estimated $26,944,600 in actual expenditures, according to city records. The expenditures of the top five departments funded were:
In 2016-17, the General Fund had an estimated $26,109,860 in actual expenditures. The expenditures of the top five departments funded were:
In 2015-16, the General Fund had an estimated $24,729,725 in actual expenditures. The expenditures of the top five departments funded were:
In 2014-15, the General Fund had an estimated $24,419,465 in actual expenditures. The expenditures of the top five departments funded were: