City of Mt. Juliet 2009-2010 Budget

It’s posted on the City website, but it takes a bit of digging to find. It was part of the Commissioner’s packet for the June 8th City Commission meeting. But since that packet is an 88 page .pdf (14mb), it takes a little while to load.

RFMJ has extracted the Budget Ordinance from this packet and saved it as a separate 8 page .pdf file (54kb). Should be much faster to download. Click on this link or on the image of page one below to view the full budget.

There is also a much larger document submitted to the commission with the budget, the so-called “budget book.” This book, usually several hundred pages, has the detailed budget by line item amounts for each department. It has NOT been made available on the city website.

2009 buget page 1

Bottom line:

General fund estimated revenues: $10,173,293.94

General fund estimated recurring expenses: $9,916473.43
(but with a transfer to the Debt Service Fund of $800,000 – this appears to be to fund the annual, recurring debt service obligations of the city)

General fund recurring expenses (with debt service): $10,716,473.43

Of particular interest is the separate reporting of the Insurance Benefit Fund for city employees. Total cost of Health Insurance is $1,353,814.68. (This cost is separately reported within the various departments’ expenses in the General Fund budget.

If one knew the total employee count, then it would be relatively simple to compute the cost per employee of health insurance and compare that to other alternatives.

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12 Comments

Filed under health insurance, Mt. Juliet City Commission

12 responses to “City of Mt. Juliet 2009-2010 Budget

  1. Butch Huber

    I don’t think this is the end of the game when it comes to health insurance. As I understand it, many employees are now doing without their prescription medicine because they can’t afford it. A short while ago they could afford their medicine, then they changed to self-insured and employees could no longer afford their medicine.

    So, to say this another way, the employees are getting less and paying more and so is the city.

    Self-insurance was such a great idea, wasn’t it?

    Increased costs, increased risk, no benefit…makes sense to me.

  2. Butch Huber

    It would seem we are once again spending more than we are taking in.

  3. Butch Huber

    Can we talk animal control?

    I saw in the Citizen’s Report that the new animal control facility has taken in over 300 animals so far this year. Okay, let’s put the number at 400 by June 30 to make sure we are being fair.

    As I remember, it is projected that the animal control facility will take $400,000 to operate on an annual basis. If the city continues to take in animals at the rate we are taking them in we will have taken in about 800 animals by year’s end. That means that the annual operating cost per animal will be in the $500 range. Now, this number doesn’t take into consideration how much money was spent on buying the land and building the building to house those animals.

    If I remember correctly, the county was going to take care of our animal housing problem for $50 or $100 per animal. Let’s take the larger number to make sure we are extremely fair. From what I can figure we are spending 5 times as much on animal control than we would have if we just played nice on this one with the county. Let me say that another way…we would have $320,000 to put toward something else…annually! This doesn’t take into consideration the $1,000,000+ they spent to build the facility in the first place.

    Let’s look at the ten year run on this….

    $320,000 per year
    10 years
    $3,200,000 saved.
    $1,000,000+ for the facility that didn’t need to be built.

    $4,200,000…..that was how much they wasted over the next ten years (not counting the cost of interest on bonds that we could have paid down with that money….not counting the interest on the bond money that was spent to build the facility).

    When we needed to be spending money to build a city hall the commissioners voted to make a state of the art facility to house dogs.

    Take a look at the front of city hall and imagine where the road will be located when it is widened. Do you think we need a new city hall?

    Perhaps we could retro-fit the dog pound and put the city offices there and send the animals to the county…no, on second thought, that would become way too confusing!

  4. Paul Deyo

    Butch, are you implying that the city is going to the dogs?

  5. Paul Deyo

    In looking at this budget summary one thing leaps out at me and that is a trend towards declining fund balances.

    This is most alarming with the sewer fund, which shows a deficit. It is clear that tap fees are not even coming close to keeping up with construction costs. While construction costs are a one-time expense, maintenance of those added miles of pipe are a recurring one. Granted some of that construction will lead to job and sales tax growth. But advocates of extending the sewer into the edges of the city and beyond, who are generally the same people advocating unfettered growth, seem to be influencing policy as they did in 1999 and prior years. Growth should pay its own way, as it brings with it social, quality of life, and real costs.

    I also notice that the greenway grant, which at 450k is still worthy of use and substantial, is less than half what we could have received with more timely action by some at city hall.

    Overall, this summary of the budget is vague, with as many questions as answers. And I still maintain it is shameful for part-time commissioners to expect their fellow citizens to pay for their health insurance. The salary doubling and laptop purchases is embarrassing enough. I can’t afford a laptop or premium health insurance but I don’t expect my neighbors to buy those things for me.

  6. Butch Huber

    Paul,

    Are you telling me that on top of the blunder on the animal shelter they lost another $450k because they didn’t act quickly enough on the greenway deal?

    Grant-ed…yes, I intended the pun, we ultimately pay for those grants one way or another, but if they are going to be giving the money away in one direction or the other, it might as well be in this direction.

    Laptops, I am okay with that.

    Increase in pay…I am even okay with that.

    Health insurance…well, I guess to a degree I am okay with that as well. But I think it should be proportionate to the hours worked and the value added.

    When they stop wasting our money on stupid stuff they should be entitled to a little perk here and a little perk there, after all, politics is a thankless job…but in the case of some of these folks they don’t deserve a thanks because they are abusing and misusing their office.

    Now that they have laptops they should use the city website for open exchanges and open dialog regarding matters before the city commission. It would allow the citizens to see what they now do behind closed doors and it would allow us to see what they are working on and how they think and how they will vote. The dialog would also cut down on time they spend in commission meetings and it would give citizens a voice in the debate.

    We should get something out of the increase in expenses they have developed over the past year or so.

  7. Madi

    Butch,

    I was reading your statements on the animal shelter; it was brought to my attention, that after the animal shelter opened; it was found that the building was against firecode violations. Something about the incenerator room where they dispose of animals. I was told that part was shut down for sometime. I can bet additional cost was not allocated in the building construction. Should of been caught in the beginning, wouldnt you think? Do you know where the money came from to bring it to code? Being it’s a city owned building, I don’t rememeber it going before the commission to approve funds to correct the issues on the incenerator, Do you? Looks to me, the animal shelter needs more and more.

  8. marketing_101

    On the laptop issue: This was supposed to save money on paper, printing, etc. at the cost of all these laptops, ungodly amounts of paper and ink could be purchased. Before the “savings” will ever be seen, these machines will be obsolete. Dumb.
    On the issue of heath insurance for commissioners: These are “part-time” city employees. I don’t know of any business that provides insurance for their part time people, and I’m sorry they can’t afford it on their own. As a partner in a small business, I can’t afford it either, but I’m dang sure not going to pay for theirs until they pay for mine.
    On another stupid expense issue: Yesterday I found in my mailbox a 12 page, 4-color print, GLOSSY piece of City Hall propaganda goop they call the “Citizen’s Report.” Lord only knows how much it cost to produce this useless piece of cage liner. And there’s promise on the back page of more of these to come!! I, for one, would be happy to either get a one page, black and white newsletter with just the facts without the “look how wonderful we are” propaganda, or nothing at all. Preferably nothing at all.
    I think it’s funny that when you ask for information they won’t give it to you, and when you don’t want it, it comes to your home in 12 PAGES of glorious living color. At your expense, of course.

  9. Larry Whitney

    I just read on the internet that the average company spends ~$7,750 on healthcare for each employee.

    Assuming that our city has average costs as corporations, that mean that we have roughly 175 employees…..

    Which of course we do not.

  10. Butch Huber

    Typically, the benefit of working for a government entity is the increased security that comes in the way of benefits and entitlements and that comes from less volatility from economic swings. I’m not saying that it is right for government to shelter its employees at added cost to taxpayers, I am just saying that the reality is that government does provide security to its workers. The downside to working for the government is that you typically take less pay than you would in the private sector.

    I have seen the numbers for this city, and I can tell you first hand that the city employees are underpaid as compared to their contemporaries in other markets and compared to the private sector.

    During my time on the payroll committee I worked hard to get us to a place where we were in balance between what other cities were doing and what was happening in the private sector. I tried to get a wide range for most of the positions in the city government in terms of salary or wages so that low performing employees were not going to get raises just because they stuck around a little while but also so that stellar performers could make premium money for what they provided to us as a community. I believe everyone should be paid exactly what they are worth, nothing more and nothing less. As far as benefits are concerned, unfortunately, laws make it virtually impossible to provide benefits on a performance basis. Those laws add to the entitlement mentality that has taken over this country.

    The benefits the city employees were receiving were actually much less than what their contemporaries in comparable cities were being provided. We had no real choice but to try to fix that divide. We bridged the gap, but in the subsequent years after the committee stopped meeting, it appears they gap has widened once again.

    That having been said, I believe there is something to learn in the information I requested from the City a year ago regarding Health insurance information. Randy Robertson worked hard to make sure that it was going to be a pain in my butt to get the information and that I was going to have to pay for it. I reviewed the material he had compiled for me and it clearly included information I did not request, but I also believe it omitted information that I did request. I refused to pay their fraudulent bill and was never provided the information (Although I did have a chance to briefly view it at city hall one day.) The commission never motioned to force Randy to provide me with the information I requested even after I addressed the issue with them. I sincerely believe there is a cover-up going on in this city and I believe if we ever get to the bottom of it we will find that someone somewhere along the line made a bad, if not illegal, move that has cost this city great sums of money.

    I honestly don’t believe the city employees are overcompensated for what they provide us, I just believe that money that could be going to pay them higher salaries, which would only serve to close the gap between what they earn and what their counterparts in other cities earn, is being wasted because of someone’s blunder.

  11. Westsider

    Self-insurance is that blunder. There is no way to spread out cost with less than 1000 employees.

    I guess they could start firing people with health problems..

  12. Butch Huber

    Westsider,

    I agree that it was a blunder to self-insure. From what I am hearing through the grapevine there is an effort among some to rewind that and go back to what we used to do for health insurance, however, the price tag on that will likely be very, very large. But I believe there is more of a blunder, I believe there is something much, much more serious. When I was asking for the information on the health insurance Randy Robertson got so flustered that his cheeks were fluttering. He was obviously very distraught that I was asking for this information. His behavior was so over the top I can’t help but believe that there is something more to see than we have seen so far. Unfortunately, I cannot prove that there is more information without having unfettered access to all information. Even if they provided me with the information they compiled there is no way for me to really know if they provided “all” of the information I requested. Hopefully, at some point, the commission itself will conduct an investigation or perhaps call in someone who can access all of the computers and files and dig in to find out what happened here.

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