The Burlington City Council officially passed their 2016-2017 budget during a Monday night City Council meeting, a budget that City Manager Jim Ferneau called “Balanced and Stable” and City Councilman Tim Scott had high praise for.
“This has been one of the best budgets I’ve seen a council put together.” Scott said, “It continues to address the deficit issue we’ve had for years and years and years.”The budget continues to add money to the City’s general fund, a fund that was all-but-devastated before Ferneau was hired on in 2011. The goal is to maintain a 15% general fund balance by 2020.
There are still some aspects of the $56.8 million budget that have yet to be finalized. The City still has yet to reach an agreement with several of the Unions that represent city employees, leaving certain payroll and insurance expenditures in a grey area.
Health Insurance for city employees was a big topic of discussion at Monday’s meeting. The city expects Health insurance costs to rise by 7.9% in the coming fiscal year, a raise they can currently manage, but Ferneau says that the costs could become difficult to handle if costs continue to grow at that rate.
“It’s a big cost item for the city. You’re looking at $3 million, that’s a large piece to see increasing annually. It’s tough to keep up overall. It doesn’t take much of a hit next year to see that go south,” Ferneau said Monday.
The budget approved Monday does not include a tax increase.