City of Tyler preparing for tough budget year

Released by the City of Tyler:

TYLER, TX - At their regular meeting May 12, the Tyler City Council reviewed the City's quarterly revenue/expenditure report for the period ending March 31. The report is focused upon the General Fund (75 percent of the City's budget) and compares actual revenues with budget appropriations, expenditures and revenues from the same period in the prior fiscal year.

The quarterly report shows that revenue from all sources combined is projected to be $2,088,319 less than budgeted with the decline in sales tax revenue the primary source of the shortfall. By taking early action in the fiscal year, expenditures from this fund have been decreased by $1,291,409.

"Because of proactive steps taken by all Departments, significant progress has been made to close the gap between our revenue and budget," commented City Manager Mark McDaniel. "Every department will continue to do more with less and look for ways to cut the additional $769,910, which is about one percent of the total budget, as we move through the balance of the fiscal year."

Steps taken to reduce expenditures include implementing a hiring freeze early in the fiscal year, limiting travel and training, delaying projects and looking for ways to do more with less. Examples include issuing the annual report electronically versus the traditional printed version and combining service contracts to achieve economies of scale.

The City started the budget process for the next fiscal year in January.

"We are preparing for another tough budget year," added McDaniel. "The economy is definitely showing signs of recovery. However, city revenues typically lag behind so we know next year will continue to be challenging as we strive to maintain the level of service our citizens have come to expect."

Preliminary property values from the Smith County Assessor indicate that values are expected to remain flat or possibly slightly lower than last year.

"Tyler has a tradition of operating a lean organization," said Mayor Barbara Bass. "In fact, the City has nearly the same number of employees today that we had in 1985, even with a 30 percent growth in our population. This makes cuts even more difficult as the staff is already quite lean. I am very pleased with the progress that has been made to close the gap and thank the City staff for their efforts."