Farmington City Council approved the final 2019 budget and tax levy projected to be 2.87 percent higher than last year.

Farmington City Administrator David McKnight presented the 2019 budget and tax levy analysis at the City Council meeting Monday, Dec. 3.

After six months of work by city staff, the general fund levy was approved to at $7,583,305. The net tax levy is projected to be $10,795,765.

Looking at the past five years, McKnight said this is the lowest tax increase the city has seen, with three of the last five years at a 4.9 percent increase.

"City Council decided they wanted to see that number significantly lower for 2019 which we did," McKnight said.

Additional staff

The city's administration budget for 2019 shows a transition away from contracted cleaning services for city facilities. The city plans to hire two full-time employees to begin working around the beginning of the new year.

The fire department budget calls for adding an additional position of a full-time deputy fire chief effective July 1, 2019. McKnight explained this is the second full-time fire department employee. The deputy fire chief will take care of business inspections and other department duties.

The budget allows for the addition of a full-time community development specialist that will begin working around July 1, 2019. This employee will perform code enforcement and other department work.

Fund balance dollars

To prevent a higher city levy, City Council decided to use general fund dollars to reduce the 2019 tax levy.

"Because of your successful financial planning and budgeting, the City Council made the decision to use $240,000 in fund balance dollars to reduce the potential levy impact for next year," McKnight said.

The general fund balance sat at 44 percent at the end of 2017, and this was up from 24.6 percent at the end of 2010.

"Your goal was to have it at 40 percent at the end of the year, and you were able to use some of the excess dollars from last year to help with next year," McKnight added.

Repayment of debt

"The biggest issue we have faced over the last 10 years is the repayment of debt from the growth we have seen in Farmington over the past 20 years," McKnight said. "So we are basically still paying for street projects and city facilities over that period.

"The one thing I like to remind the council and residents of is that this money is paying for Fire Station No. 2, our police station, the Schmitz-Maki Arena improvements, city hall, the First Street garage and all the street projects listed," McKnight added.