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City Hall Officials Present Proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Budget to Public

August 24, 2015

budgetJohns Creek City officials presented a proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 balanced budget to the City Council for consideration during the Aug. 24 work session at City Hall.

The proposed FY 2016 General Fund totals $53.4 million. 

“We are excited to present our 10th balanced budget to the City Council,” said Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker.  “The FY 2016 budget is a result of a new strategic planning process that better addresses the city’s top priorities which include traffic congestion relief, public safety, park improvements, and planning for future needs.” 

Years of prudent planning have led to substantial discretionary reserves, and the City is now in a position to allocate much of that money towards capital projects and services and programs.  A proposed approximately $5 million contribution from reserves is planned for capital projects and accelerated service enhancements.

The City’s budget process was driven by a new strategic and prioritized approach.  The new budget planning process includes a 10-year financial model that forecasts anticipated future obligations, and institutes a new “scorecard” system for capital requests that prioritizes projects and calculate future related operational costs. 

The new process enables the City to view expenditures through the lens of long-term obligations for a more precise picture of budget impacts in the future.  
Creating scorecards for proposed projects and capital projects, along with a more defined approach to forecasting future expenditures and impacts, adds precision to the FY 2016 Budget planning process. 

The city will explore enhanced performance metrics and benchmarking practices to further refine its processes, and ensure its service delivery is operating as efficiently as possible.

A snapshot of expenditures proposed for FY 2016 include:

Transportation and Infrastructure
Improving traffic flow is always a top priority for the community and the FY 2016 Budget is heavily weighted towards projects to achieve this goal.  Improvements are planned for all arterials, including Medlock Bridge, Kimball Bridge, Jones Bridge, Abbotts Bridge and McGinnis Ferry roads.  More than $3.1 million in city funding is slated for transportation and infrastructure projects, and an additional $32 million in state and federal funding will be requested.

Highlights include:
• $60,000 designated for the city’s portion of the North Fulton County Transportation Plan Update to coordinate with surrounding jurisdictions to improve traffic flow
• Kimball Bridge Road widening from State Bridge Road to Jones Bridge Road ($150,000 for right-of-way and $9 million of federal money for construction)
• Medlock Bridge Road at State Bridge Road Thr U intersection improvement ($4.84 million all proposed grant funding) Abbotts Bridge Road turn lanes/medians from Jones Bridge Road to Parsons Road ($500,000)
• Neighborhood Paving Program ($1,5 million)
• Resurfacing of high traffic roads ($500,000)

Recreation & Parks
Recreation and Park services are integral to quality of life and the FY 2016 Budget ensures that Johns Creek will make appropriate investments in this service.  Funding is planned for development of two neighborhood pocket parks as well as important infrastructure repairs and investments at Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center and Ocee Park.  Additionally, the budget includes the City’s portion of partnering with Gwinnett County and the City of Duluth to transform Rogers Bridge into a pedestrian bridge across the Chattahoochee River linking both Johns Creek and Duluth.

Highlights include:
• Completion of State Bridge Road pocket park ($250,000)
• Development of Morton Road pocket park ($1,000,000)
• Rogers Bridge connection across Chattahoochee River ($50,000)
• Ocee Park playground renovation ($200,000)

Public Safety Departments
The FY 2016 Budget contains several program enhancements to ensure the City’s public safety departments remain effective and efficient.  The budget calls for hiring four additional police officers to maintain necessary staffing levels required by a growing population.  Additionally, several police and fire vehicles are scheduled for replacement.

Funding is also provided for four new positions in the Fire Department. The City also will begin reviewing direct fire service options in areas of the city currently utilizing automatic aid agreements with other jurisdictions.

Highlights include:
• Four new police officers ($339,842)
• Three new fire personnel at Station 62 ($229,547)
• One new plan fire marshal ($85,151)
• Fire Department vehicle replacement ($192,150)
• Police Department vehicle replacement ($525,600)
• Fire Station 64 feasibility/location study ($15,000)
• Radio upgrades to comply with required technology – fire ($95,000)
• Radio upgrades to comply with required technology – police ($135,000)

Community Development
Fiscal Year 2016 will see the initiation of a major update to the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.  The current Comprehensive Plan was adopted shortly after the city’s incorporation in 2008.  This intense community-wide planning effort will bring diverse stakeholders and interests groups together to view the process with the benefit of eight years of working knowledge.  This approach is designed to more keenly define the city’s strategic land use planning goals and direction.  Viewed as a high priority of the community, this project is being advanced a year ahead of its required schedule to more proactively align land use policies with the community.

Highlights include:
• Major update to Comprehensive Plan ($300,000)

Additional City Highlights
• Improved budget forecasting software ($100,000)
• Firewall refresh ($25,000)
• Backup server replacement ($35,000)
• Document Management Software enhancements ($150,000)
• Internal Auditor ($35,000)

Aug. 24 marks the first public presentation for the proposed FY 2016 budget.  Public hearings are set for Sept. 8 and Sept. 28. The City Council vote is scheduled for Sept. 28 following the public hearing.