Milford City Council approved a Capital Improvement Plan that will guide the city over the next five years. If all projects are completed, the city will spend just under $23 million in 2024, just under $26 million in 2025, just over $22 million in 2026, just under $15 million in 2027 and just under $5 million in 2028. Grant funding will be sought for many of the projects which may lower the amount the city must spend. In addition, council approved the 2023-24 budget in the amount of $52,858.538.
“Just for some recaps and corrections of final numbers that you’ll see in the budget, the only thing that has changed is the $49,000 driven mostly by the staffing study, totals and rate recommendations,” Lou Vitola, Finance Director, said. “One minor change is that we’ll be back with a resolution on June 26, such as the one dollar solid waste increase, everything is already in place.”
Vitola explained that the CIP informs the capital part of the budget. He explained that if there were no grant funds identified for some of the capital improvements, the city could delay implementation if the budget did not allow them to move forward. In addition, even with the increase in utility rates, Vitola stated that the city had the second lowest rate in the state but adding in taxes, the city dropped to the third lowest in the state. If a one dollar increase in sewer rates passes on June 26, it could drop the city to fourth place, but that would mean no other city raises their rates.
“How many budget workshops have we had this year?” Councilman Jason James said. “We had four. And with that said, I can say that this council has thoroughly vetted this budget from the capital budget through the operating budget. There was from the initial presentation and the questions that council asked on behalf of the constituents concerning the capital budget and how that would affect the operating budget along with the push back and clarification that was requested for the elements of the operating budget. I can from my time on City Council, that this was the most thoroughly vetted budget that I participated in.”
Councilman James felt that council really worked hard to make sure they understood what was being presented and what they looking to adopt. Councilman James applauded City Manager Mark Whitfield and Vitola for their hard work. He also thanked council for the work they did and their participation on behalf of all the constituents of the city.
“I want to thank Lou and his team,” Councilman Andy Fulton said. “I think they did an outstanding job. They’re giving us better and better product every year, something that we can actually discern what is being asked of us to spend money on. It is not our money, it is all of you all’s money and I just want to thank Lou for giving us a good product to start working with.”
During public comment, John Cabrera pointed out that the budget was a little daunting to review. He suggested that council put information in the city newsletter to inform the public about some of the projects.
“Nobody really knows about these because you don’t really see it on the outside,” Cabrera said. “You guys see it all the time, but we don’t see it. We just see increases. I just think it would be wise to publicize some of this in the newsletter..”
Council passed the budget and CIP unanimously.
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