Smyrna trims the number of new jobs from proposed 2018 budget

Smyrna City Hall in article about Smyrna millage rate

The City of Smyrna will likely be adding new jobs in the next fiscal year, but not quite as many as initially proposed.

During the council’s regular meeting Monday night, June 5, budget officer Jered Sigmon presented updated information on the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2018. The presentation was the third public meeting on the budget, following earlier meetings held May 15 and May 17, and the council is scheduled to vote on final passage of the budget June 19.

Earlier versions of the budget included 20 new hires. But the number was trimmed to six due to concerns about stretching the city’s resources in future years.

If passed, the updated budget will mean 14 fewer new hires for the city, but also a savings of nearly $500,000 to taxpayers that would potentially be repeated in future years.

“We took time to basically take a harder look at our upcoming obligations, and as a result, we’ve made some recommendations for the upcoming budget year,” said Sigmon during a presentation to the council. “The positions highlighted in red are no longer being recommended for the 2018 budget.

Earlier budget proposals called for new positions including: four E-911 communications officers at a total budget impact of $155,463, one fire prevention inspector/investigator at a cost of $55,059, six firefighter trainees ($290,555 total), one risk coordinator ($52,764), one maintenance tech ($33,218), three recycling crew workers ($62,689 total), two sanitation crew workers ($41,793 total), one sanitation truck driver ($24,295) and one traffic crew worker ($21,607).

The total combined cost for all 20 positions was $737,443. Sigmon said the city’s departments originally requested 26 new positions, and the budget staff initially trimmed that to 20.

As now proposed, the city will hire the four communications officers, one fire prevention inspector/investigator at a cost of $72,079 and a maintenance tech. The total cost will be $260,760, or $476,683 less than first proposed.

“This was a hard process, and it was not an easy process to recommend these decisions,” Sigmon said. “These are personnel and they need to continue to perform their functions to the high level of service our citizens expect. But we also know we have a responsibility, not only to balance the budget this year but in future years.”

Overall, the city’s tax digest continues to strengthen as it’s expected to rise 8 percent from 2017.  The millage rate is expected to remain at 8.99 mills, where it has been since 2007. The total proposed budget is $92,065,846, which is a 9.4 percent decrease from last year due to lower expenditures for the capital project and enterprise funds.

“I support the changes staff is making for 2018,” said Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon. “We will officially adopt this June 19.”