What’s in the Coral Gables’ Budget–Few Personnel Changes

I am inclined to try to go through the 2011-2011 Budget submitted by the City Manager to City Commission on July 7, and presented in a workshop a few days later.  The following will try to highlight some of the most significant aspects of the first full budget prepared by Pat Salerno, City Manager.

The budget involves a reduction of 7.6 percent from last year’s budget (we don’t yet know the final outcome of last year’s budget).  The bulk of the decrease $7.1 million comes from cutting capital expenditures and $4.3 million cuts in the operating budget (and of this $3,6 million salaries and benefits).

Interpretation:

  • A reduction in capital expenditures from one year to the next is totally arbitrary since capital outlays can usually be postponed unless they involve special tied funds that have to go for specific purposes (e.g. road maintenance) required by law and cannot be shifted elsewhere in the budget.  Where did the City get the capital spending number of $4.3 million and why did they budget $11.5 million last year.  Last year’s capital budget could have been much smaller.  And I wonder whether last year’s budget of $11.5 million was really spent–my guess is not given the slowness in the execution of projects in Coral Gables.  So the big reduction in capital spending should be ignored for now.
  • Salary and benefit reductions are only 2.4% of last year’s budget,  a relatively small amount for a city.  And a net reduction in staff  of  17 positions (30 old positions-13 new positions) also is a relatively modest share, about 2%, of the total 791 positions.  All reductions are very low level positions and the new ones are not.  (We look at this in a later post.)

Next,  TAXES.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

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