With an overall assessment that Franklin is in “excellent financial condition,” City Administrator Eric Stuckey released the city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-23 Monday.
The FY23 budget for all funds is $207,021,697, which represents an increase of 15.1% compared to FY22. The FY23 general fund budget is $94,884,981, which represents an increase of 2% compared to the current budget for FY22.
“The past two years have brought extraordinary challenges and change to communities across the United States and around the world,” Stuckey said in a news release. “A year ago, the city of Franklin focused on how we could emerge as a ‘Stronger Franklin’ in the face of these challenges. I am proud to say our community has emerged stronger and is as vibrant as ever.
“Despite unprecedented economic challenges, the city of Franklin is in excellent financial condition. Our reserves are at strong levels, our debt obligations are relatively low and manageable, and our tax rates are among the lowest in the state. Continued strong financial management and strategic investment will position the city of Franklin to succeed and thrive as the regional and national economy emerges from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
During calendar year 2021, private investment surpassed pre-COVID levels. Also during 2021, five corporate headquarters announced their move to Franklin and commitment to bring a total investment in excess of $25 million and the creation of 1,000 new jobs.
Significant infrastructure investment continues through the city’s Capital Investment Plan highlighted by the recent opening of the Mack Hatcher northwest extension and the upcoming completion of projects including the city’s expanded and upgraded water reclamation facility; the opening of the Franklin Road improvements; the completion of the 96 West multi-use trail; and the opening of renovated ballfields in partnership with Franklin Special School District.
Highlights of the 2022-23 budget
- The budget is balanced.
- The budget fully complies with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s debt and fund reserve policies.
- Essential service levels are maintained.
- The city property tax remains unchanged at $0.3261 per $100 of assessed valuation. The Invest Franklin dedicated funding for infrastructure/transportation investment and support of city operations remains in place. The city of Franklin continues to maintain one of the lowest municipal property tax rates in the State of Tennessee.
- The budget includes the full implementation of an updated compensation plan. Due to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first comprehensive update to the city’s pay plan in five years. City pay grades which were increased by 5% in January 2022 will be increased an additional 5% in July 2022. Nearly 70% of city positions and 79% of city team members are being moved up one or more pay grades with the city’s two lowest pay grades being eliminated and moved up.
- A general pay increase for city team members will be effective the first pay period of July 2022. The budget includes a general pay increase of 5%, an additional performance-based pay increase of up to an additional 2.5%, and an additional $1,000 pay increase for all employees under $90,000 in annual salary.
- The budget includes 13 new positions and one “restored” position in the general fund. The new positions within the general fund include four new police officers, a Fire Information Systems analyst, a Public Works analyst, an Information Technology technician, a paralegal, a Capital Projects inspector, a Benefits generalist, an Organizational Development specialist, an assistant Preservation planner, an assistant Field Turf supervisor and the restoration of a building inspector position. In the city’s other operating funds, there are two new positions in the Sanitation fund and two restored positions in Water Management fund.
- Health insurance premiums for City team members will increase by 5 percent for FY23, the first increase in premiums in two years.
- In FY23, the city will create a separate Capital Vehicle and Equipment Replacement fund. This approach will provide better, updated vehicles in a more efficient manner.
- Funding is provided for important investments in operating capital ($3.1 million) including equipment replacements, technology enhancements and facility improvements.
- The FY23 budget includes a $1.50 per month increase for resident trash and recycling collection (from $20.50/month to $22/month).
- Funding for the update of the Envision Franklin Land Use Plan is included in the FY23 budget.
- The budget incorporates performance measures and sustainability initiatives for every department. The connection to the city’s strategic plan, Franklin Forward, is clearly linked to performance measures and objectives throughout the budget.
Despite the city’s successes, Stuckey said significant challenges remain. The community and the nation have experienced the highest inflation in over 40 years. The labor market is extremely “tight” and rapidly changing. To retain and attract the best talent to serve the community, the city says it has to change to meet the needs of today and beyond.
“Our best efforts will be required to meet the demands that lie ahead,” Stuckey said. “The city must continue to deliver high-quality services, enhance existing infrastructure and prepare for growth in terms of services, infrastructure and community impact. We believe we have crafted a budget and action plan that is both fiscally prudent and consistent in maintaining our commitment to a high level of community service.”
Go here to read more about the proposed budget and see it in its entirety.