Scottsdale adopts final all-funds budget for FY 18 approaching $1.3B

Scottsdale City Hall is at 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. in downtown Scottsdale. (Independent Newsmedia/Melissa Fittro)

Scottsdale City Council has approved its final all-funds budget for fiscal year 2017-18 approaching $1.3 billion.

The unanimous budget adoption came during Scottsdale City Council’s Tuesday, June 13 meeting at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

The city of Scottsdale fiscal year 2017-18 General Fund sits at $265.6 million, which provides for the day-to-day operations of the city, while the proposed all-funds budget can be broken down to:

  • Operating budgets: $557.9 million.
  • Grants and special districts: $15.2 million.
  • Capital Project Budget: $522.6 million.
  • Reserves: $184.0 million.

Scottsdale Budget Director Judy Doyle presented to city council that final revenue estimates gleaned at the League of Arizona Cities and Towns shows the city is to see a slight bump in state-shared revenue allocations.

“On May 25, exactly two days following the tentative budget discussion, we received updated state-shared revenue estimates from the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, which translated to a ‘17-‘18 increase,” she said at the June 13 public hearing.

State-shared revenue projects, dollars derived from sales tax and statewide highway user revenues, are about $1.8 million better than previously speculated, Ms. Doyle points out.

“Our transportation fund will see an increase of nearly a million dollars in HURF (Highway User Revenue Fund) funds,” she said. “On the uses side there were three changes within public safety police. The three changes has an overall decrease to the General Fund from the tentative budget adopted May 24.”

Those changes are the police department will not pay for day-shift differential, there will be a reclassification and compression of those classified as lieutenants and the creation of a full-time forensic scientist position.

“The sum of those changes resulted in a decrease of about $20,000 to our General Fund,” Ms. Doyle explained.

“We had one change in the CIP and that was to modify the spread of the renovation of the Vista Del Camino Park Indian Bend wash area project to better align with the CIP subcommittee recommendation.”

Paying the Parker case

Major General Fund increases playing a role in the municipality’s budget — as with all Arizona municipalities — is a recent court ruling regarding forgone payments that must now be paid through the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System. The city of Scottsdale’s portion to pay out for what is known as the “Parker case” is $7 million in the coming fiscal year.

The Scottsdale Police Department is carrying a $122.4 million PSPRS liability of which 55 percent is funded, city officials say.

The Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System is a 236-member organization managing the pension plans for eligible public safety personnel entities statewide. The Arizona Constitution recognizes public employee pensions, while PSPRS and its duties were established in the late 1960s to ensure public safety employees equal footing in terms of pension eligibility, contribution rates and benefit formulas.

In addition to Parker case payouts, the city of Scottsdale is seeing notable General Fund increases including:

  • A $3.5 million payment to the PSPRS fund;
  • A $2.1 million increase due to a 3 percent merit pay salary increase for employees;
  • A $1.3 million increase to provide for a police 5 percent salary step program;
  • A $400,000 increase to provide for a 5 percent salary step program for police sergeants;
  • A $800,000 increase to provide for a 5 percent salary step program for firefighters;
  • A $600,000 increase to employee healthcare costs.

Scottsdale City Council is expected to host a primary and secondary property tax and streetlight district’s levy hearing at its June 27 meeting at City Hall.

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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