Covington city manager presents budget recommendation

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - City Manager Larry Klein delivered the City Manager's recommended Fiscal Year 2013/2014 Budget to the Commission this week.

"It moves us toward providing services at optimal levels and secures a more stable financial future through reinvestment in the City's infrastructure, economic development, neighborhood revitalization and public realm, while maintaining the fiscal discipline demonstrated by the City in the past two years," said Klein.

In his message to the Mayor and Commissioners, Klein explained that the City has reached an unprecedented point of opportunity. The policy basis for his recommended budget heavily relies on critical future decision making.

The policy outlines five core commitment areas that focus on potential for greatest return on investment and quality of life improvements for residents.

In summary, the proposed balanced budget recommends the following key actions:

  1. Invest in Infrastructure (streets, sidewalks, levee maintenance, storm water control), Facilities & Recreation, Fleet and Equipment. Establish long-term funding and focus for the City's basic needs - approximately $52 M over the next five years to these categories, including long-term funding for renovating or rehabilitating the urban core, riverfront and other areas. Continue on the current path of adequate long-range and sustainable funding for significant infrastructure improvements. Accommodate the enormous demand for green space and recreational opportunities as a tool to attract residents, businesses and further investment. Keep the City safe and looking like a great place to live, work, play and invest.
  2. Invest in Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization. Identify additional revenue streams through this investment and continue the City's current efforts to acquire and demolish foreclosed properties to remove blight from neighborhoods and to pave the way for new opportunities and new revenue sources.
  3. Manage the City's past and present personnel obligations. Implement a classification and compensation plan for non-union employees and focus on meeting past financial obligations to the City's police and fire and non-uniformed employee pension funds, which are currently underfunded.
  4. Focus on replenishing the City's reserve fund. Introduce an aggressive focus on building a $1 M reserve in the FY14 budget after previous years' fund balances hovering below $500,000.  Currently, the general fund balance as a percentage % of revenue is less than 1%, compared to other cities like Paducah and Bowling Green possessing 35% and 34% respectively.
  5. Invest in our Quality of Life. Improve the citizen, business and visitor experience and the quality-of-life considerations including City-wide beautification such as sidewalk and other public improvements. Lend support to community partners such as Keep Covington Beautiful and the volunteer Bicentennial Committee whose expertise , energy and reach can further implement improvements and promote our community.

The City's Fiscal Year 2013/14 proposed General Fund budget totals $46.49M, and includes all of the City's services such as fire, police, public improvements, community services recreation and others. The City's proposed Capital budget is approximately $75 million over the five year period of 2014-2018, with a recommended first-year allocation of $26 million in FY 2013/14. Last year's capital budget was $8 million.

Klein presented the budget at the Commission's May 21 meeting. A first reading of the budget ordinance is scheduled for the City Commission meeting on June 11. If any changes occur to the budget after first reading on June 11, a new first reading will occur on June 25; if no changes occur, a second reading will occur on June 27 at the Commission meeting.

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