Hyattsville to keep property tax rate
Proposed budget shows slight drop in revenue and spending
The property tax rate for Hyattsville residents will remain the same in the next fiscal year after the City Council unanimously approved keeping the rate constant.
The council voted April 12 to keep the rate at 63 cents per every $100 of assessed value. Mayor William Gardiner also introduced his proposed draft budget for fiscal 2011. It includes a $450,000 cut in state revenues to the city as a result of the state fiscal crisis, cuts that came as a surprise for many municipalities in fiscal 2010. In fiscal 2010, the city received nearly $1.9 million in intergovernmental, licenses and fines, a figure projected to drop to $1.27 million in fiscal 2011.
The proposed $12.73 million operating budget represents a drop from fiscal 2010, when $12.9 million was budgeted.
Despite the cuts to state revenue, Gardiner said he is not proposing cutting staff. About 100 people work for the city.
"I think the good news for us is that we have run a pretty lean operation," Gardiner said. "We're not in a situation where we need to cut people or cut salaries and things of that nature."
A proposed 1 percent cost of living increase adjustment in city employees' salaries is included in the budget, and each increase in percentage will cost $56,000.
Gardiner said the city could save money by not filling two code enforcement positions that will be vacant at the end of the month due to resignations and outsourcing some duties, and by having the police department continue to look at ways to partner with neighboring agencies, like it did with Greenbelt to negotiate a reduced rate for a communications system this fiscal year.
In addition to the operating expenses is the approximately $1.64 million debt service that the city needs to pay. The debt includes bonds that financed street repaving and the purchase of a former bank building at 3505 Hamilton St. to be used for nonprofit and city services.
The city's expected revenue of $14.84 million is about $472,903 higher than budgeted expenditures, a difference Gardiner said will be used to finance additional capital items.
But it seems the city can't purchase all of the remaining capital items. City Administrator Elaine M. Murphy said the total cost of those remaining capital items is between $500,000 and $1 million.
"What has really been described as a cushion is really a placeholder for a number of requested expenses," Councilman William F. Tierney (Ward 2) said, referring to the $472,903 difference between revenues and expenditures.
Details on the capital budget and the remaining departmental budgets will be hashed out over the coming weeks, and the council will vote on the budget in late May or early June. The fiscal year begins July 1.
E-mail Elahe Izadi at firstname.lastname@example.org.