With the local economy continuing its climb back, Scottsdale budget officials expect to give the City Council and public a largely positive outlook at a study session today, launching the budget process for fiscal 2005-06.
We don’t have any real constraints," said Councilman Kevin Osterman, a member of the budget subcommittee. "It looks like we’re going to be in really good shape."
Art Rullo, Scottsdale’s budget director, said there is reason for optimism, but disagreed that the city is without constraints.
Exact budget numbers remain elusive — as holiday shoppers continue to shape them with their purchases — but Rullo said sales tax returns are above what was projected.
But there also are new expenses. With the creation of a public fire department, which will hire 256 people, Scottsdale is estimated to pay $1.7 million into the Public Safety Retirement System, which also increased contribution rates for police officers, likely another $800,000 from the city’s coffers.
Additionally, the Arizona State Retirement System, which serves all the state’s local governments, has increased its contribution rate by 2.55 percent — resulting in about $1.7 million in costs.
Spending on capital projects, such as fire stations and water treatment facilities, is slated to be $1.3 million for 2005-06, but will nearly double the next year, budget documents show.
Starting in January, Osterman said the city will hold two budget summits, one in south Scottsdale and the other in the north. The meetings will give budget officials and council members an opportunity to get resident input on what the city should prioritize.
After the budget subcommittee — made up of three council members — holds work sessions on City Manager Jan Dolan’s budget proposal, two more summits will be held in May.
The budget is to be approved June 7 and goes into effect at the start of the next fiscal year, July 1.
Osterman said the fire department, the ASU Scottsdale Center for New Technology and Innovation and San Francisco Giants spring training facility will be funding priorities for the next fiscal year.
"This is going to be a great year, there will be a real renaissance downtown," Osterman said.
Rullo warned the nation is still at war, gas prices are up and interest rates may rise.
"Things are looking good," Rullo said, but noting that the economy and Scottsdale’s revenue sources are unpredictable.
Council study session
What: Scottsdale budget update
Where: Human Resources Pinnacle Room, 7575 E. Main St.
When: 5 p.m. today