The year hasn’t even started and his proposed contingency has been whittled down to $300,000.
The city’s Budget Office says there are various reasons for the decrease in the mayor’s proposed contingency fund, including the decision to get rid of the red-light cameras.
That decision is going to cost the city $530,000 in revenue.
The cameras were expected to generate about $65,000 in revenue monthly, or about $780,000 for the entire year. But expenses for the program totaled about $250,000, so the net revenue for 2012 was projected to be $530,000.
The City Council’s recent decision not to collect certain past-due stormwater accounts through property tax bills is also shrinking the mayor’s proposed contingency fund.
The council decided not to send accounts owing less than $20 to the county treasurer this year. Accounts under $20 total $65,000, not $50,000 as originally reported by the city, Budget Manager Lisa Bigelow said.
The council also decided to figure out a different way to collect on properties with unpaid stormwater fees that have changed ownership on or after January 2010. The city stopped billing stormwater fees in January 2010, and the council wants to hold the previous owners, not the new owners, accountable for their past-due fees. Those accounts total about $95,000, Bigelow said.
For new owners who already paid past-due stormwater fees on properties they purchased on or after January, the city plans to issue refunds. The refunds total about $85,000, Bigelow said.
In addition, Bigelow said the city doesn’t anticipate collecting from the federal or county government or nonprofits. Those accounts total $155,000, she said.
“We don’t think we’ll be collecting those,” she said.
Bach, who is the city’s first strong mayor, wanted the contingency fund for “unanticipated or emergency items.” The contingency fund is separate from the city’s rainy-day fund, which essentially serves the same purpose.
Other factors that are taking a bite out of the mayor’s stash:
The costs of the streetlight program came in lower than budgeted, from $4.5 million to $3.8 million. But the city has taken a big hit with copper thefts and is budgeting $520,000 to replace the copper in the streetlights and get them working again, Bigelow said.
Who pays to replace the copper – the city government or Colorado Springs Utilities – is still up for debate, she said. But, for now, the city is going to budget the expenditure.
The city is also budgeting for a $120,000 study for “development standards,” though the city is also in discussion with Springs Utilities about who will pay for it, she said.
“We’ve been working with Utilities to look at development standards related to when a development occurs, how many streetlights do we really need, should we be looking at LED streetlights, things like that,” she said.