Breaking Through the Jargon: The Municipal Budget Explained
City budget makes up 23 percent of resident's tax bill. Here's how it shakes out.
The municipal budget, which last year made up 23 percent of a resident's overall tax bill, is a complex beast. There are many departments under the city's umbrella that need to be funded, everything from the Department of Community Programs to the Library. Here is a breakdown of how much of the municipal tax portion went to what department in 2009 and what sorts of things your money paid for:
Legal: This expense makes up approximately $49 of the average tax bill, or about 1.6 percent. According to Chris Cotter's proposed budget document, this account includes funding for the municipal prosecutor, labor attorney, tax counsel and special counsel for affordable housing.
Fire: The Fire Department makes up $349, or 11.1 percent, of the average tax bill. This portion of the municipal budgets covers what you might expect, the costs associated with fire fighting, fire prevention and fire suppression. It also includes $3 million for the salaries for the career fire fighters, $45,000 in vehicle maintenance costs, $71,000 in uniform costs and close to $26,000 for training.
Police: The City of Summit Police Department makes up $558 of the average tax bill or 17. percent. This budget includes patrol, administrative, investigative, traffic and
special services costs but it also includes $195,417 in pay for Summit's crossing guards. This budget includes $5 million in police officer wages, $11,000 for street signs and $32,000 for vehicles.
Department of Community Programs: What used to be known as the Department of Recreation makes up 2.4 percent of the municipal budget, or $75 on the average tax bill. This includes $140,000 in operating expenses and salary and wages to run the Municipal Golf Course, more than $200,000 between operating expenses and full and part-time salaries to run the Family Aquatic Center, $240,000 in salary and wages for recreation services and $139,000 in salaries for the administration to run the Department of Community Programs.
Library: The Summit Free Public Library is currently still funding through the 1/3 million requirement which establishes a minimum funding requirement for public libraries by looking at the value of all the real estate in a township and then allocating a certain percentage of that value to the local public library. In 2009, the municipal budget included $1.4 million in salary and wages at the library and an additional $205,000 for books, $16,000 for periodicals, and $53,000 for audio visual materials. These and and other expenses accounted for 6.6 percent of the city's operation budget, or $209 on the average tax bill.
Health Department: Summit is part of the Regional Health Department which has dramatically reduced municipal costs in this area. But there still are some. In 2009, Health costs were less than 1 percent of the city's budget. This was comprised of $216,000 in salary and wages and $63,000 in operating expenses. In 2009 the Health Department administered free H1N1 vaccines as well.
The Department of Communiy Services: This department is comprised of many sub-departments including Public Works. DCS's budget in 2009 made up 15 percent of the city's budget or $486 of the average tax bill, the second highest portion after the Police Department. This massive budget included $169,000 in road materials just in the road and maintenance department, $105,000 in salary and wages for snow removal alone, $722,000 in salary and wages for garbage pickup and an additional $65,000 for recycling. DCS also includes the operation of the transfer station, which cost $75,000 to run before salary and wages.
The city's budget also includes costs for disposal services ($878,601 in 2009) and municipal court costs ($372,000 in salary and wages and another $18,706 in operating expenses.)
The city also spent 5 percent of its budget in 2009 on utilities. This includes almost half a million dollars for electricity, an additional $189,000 for street lighting, $53,000 in water bills, $235,000 for telephone service, $80,000 in natural gas, $50,00 for heating oil and $104,000 for gasolone and $97,000 for diesel fuel.