2023-2024 budget for TMU and city of Trenton under scrutiny by Trenton City Council’s Finance Committee

Budget news graphic

The Trenton City Council’s Finance Committee has been working on the 2023-2024 fiscal year budgets for Trenton Municipal Utilities and the city of Trenton. Both take effect with the start of the city’s fiscal year on May 1st.

The proposed budgets, as recommended by the finance committee, are to be presented in the form of ordinances for the March 27th meeting of the full Trenton City Council. The budgets cover all departments operating within TMU and the city of Trenton.

City Clerk Cindy Simpson reports the proposed budgets do not offer increases in employee wages, and it makes no change in employee benefits. Employees did receive a pay raise late last year due to asphalt sales being greater than anticipated.

City Administrator Ron Urton noted expenses for just about everything has gone up – causing the city and TMU expenses to rise accordingly. Some items are increasing by 50 to 100 percent in their cost. He praised department heads for working hard to keep expenses down and still provide the same level of services.

Urton said for the new budget, the finance committee conservatively estimated selling about half the asphalt that the city did last year. But officials anticipate selling more than the amount budgeted. Expenses also are higher related to supplies for making asphalt and operating the asphalt plant. With the annual transfer of $235,000 from the road use fund, Urton anticipates the city’s general fund balance for the fiscal year to be less than the proposed deficit which is $469,061.

Regarding the capital projects fund, Urton said the committee increased the amount of street overlay work to $391,000 compared to last year. This includes work to complete pavement repairs at the emergency services complex this year and to continue with additional repair work on the apron of the Trenton airport. The capital projects fund, including all revenue and appropriation categories, projects a $250,000 deficit.

The street department’s oil distributor truck is in significant need of replacement. This was previously bought used and is now close to 40 years old. Thus, $265,000 has been budgeted for this purchase. A portion of the accumulated reserves in the road use fund will go toward replacing the oil distributor truck allowing the street crew to continue to perform maintenance work on the city streets.

Urton also praised the city departments for doing what he called an excellent job in taking care of their equipment. But due to having a lot of city-owned equipment that’s used daily, there always will be some equipment that needs to be replaced.

The general fund budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year predicts revenues for the city at $4,373,793, and expenses are projected to come in at $5,077,854. The road use transfer ($235,000) reduces the anticipated deficit to $469,061. The city predicts a May 1st un-designated balance of $3,098,833.