Mobile mayor releases $298 million spending plan
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Mayor Sandy Stimpson on Friday released a budget plan for the coming fiscal year that envisions raising $302 million in revenue and spending nearly as much.
Both figures represent a 7 percent increase over the current budget year. While that may sound healthy, Stimpson wrote in a letter to the Mobile City Council that rising prices have cut into the city’s spending power.
“Today, the outlook for the City is more uncertain than at the start of the current fiscal year,” he wrote. “Inflation, now above 9%, is at the highest level since 1982. Interest rates have begun to rise from historic lows as the Federal Reserve tries to slow down inflation.”
Stimpson pointed to negative economic growth across the country, signaling the dawn of a recession.
The proposed general fund budget would spend $298 million on $302 million in revenue.
Stimpson touted his stewardship of city financing, noting that the government has reduced its debt and increased its cash reserves. He also noted that Standard and Poor’s had increased the city’s bond rating in January to AA status, which makes borrowing cheaper.
The general fund budget includes the 2.5 percent cost-of-living-adjustment for city workers that the City Council passed in the spring and a new minimum wage for city workers of $15.22. The budget also contains an additional 2.5 percent merit pay raise to help attract and retain employees, the mayor wrote.
Looking forward, Stimpson wrote, the city plans to reduce debt levels and shore up with police and fire pension fund, as well as continue to pay down debt and maintain a large surplus.
“This will provide us with the flexibility to weather an uncertain year while maintaining essential city services,” he wrote.
The mayor also anticipating having nearly $40 million available for long-term expenses.
The City Council has scheduled a public hearing on the budget for Sept. 6.
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