Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Documents
- Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Overview
- School Budget Proposal Overview
- Capital Improvement Plan Presentation
Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Presentation
- Watch the Presentation
- View the PowerPoint (PDF)
- Presentation: Non-General Fund Budgets (PDF)
- FY24 Budget Book - Includes detailed budgets for each City department
- Department Head Budget Presentations: Part I
- Department Head Budget Presentations: Part II
- Municipal Service Presentations
The City Manager presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget to the City Council on March 9, 2023.
When preparing the budget recommendations for the year, staff has to balance several priorities: the use of taxpayer dollars, the level of service that the City will provide, the needs of the City as an employer, the need for long-term investment, and general principles of fiscal responsibility.
When building this year’s budget, the City Manager made the following decisions when addressing budgetary pressures and the impacts on citizens:
- Maintained service levels
- Did not allocate funding for emerging services
- Increased funding for capital assets
- Continued to maintain the goal of making the City a preferred employer to improve recruitment and retention in a difficult labor market
There are no employee positions added to or removed from the budget. There is also no change recommended in fees charged for services.
The City is impacted by inflation like all other buyers. Inflation’s impact on the presented budget is $1,286,428 this year, which is equivalent to $0.41 on the tax rate.
One significant policy issue that the Council will have to address is funding for capital improvements. Last year’s budget provided $1.6 million. The City Manager recommends that the Council allocates $3.6 million in capital investment for ongoing infrastructure needs. If the Council adopts this recommendation, the additional $2 million in funding would increase the tax rate by 3.89% ($0.64).
Based on Biddeford’s valuation growth in relation to other communities in Maine, revenue sharing from the state is set to decrease this year. On the other hand, investment income is up $525,000.
Property Tax Impact
The property tax impact of the budget as presented by the City Manager would be a $0.91 increase to the tax rate compared to FY23. Without the recommended significant increase in capital funding, the impact on the tax rate would be $0.27.
Projections from Assessing
Real estate pricing is continuing to increase in Biddeford. The Assessing Department is completing a review of real estate values this year including an assisted commercial review. Preliminary projections show that single-family homes will see less of an increase in values than nearly every other sector. Apartment buildings and water-influenced properties are preliminarily expected to see higher value increases. The Assessor is also projecting $20 million in valuation growth in the community from new development.
The Maine Department of Education made an error in their initial funding allocation. Based on this discovery, Biddeford will receive an additional $913,739 in state funding than was previously expected. This will lower the tax rate impact of the proposed School Budget by $0.30.
School Budget Presentation
Superintendent Jeremy Ray presented the 2023-2024 proposed School Budget to the City Council on March 21, 2023.
State formulas for school funding are significantly based on property valuations and assume that communities with higher property values are able to pay for more expenses. Biddeford’s valuation growth is 8%, while the State average growth is 6%, and Biddeford is now the third most valuable community in all of York County. Therefore, state subsidies are set to decrease this year by $360k for PreK-8 education. At the same time, the State is providing an additional $360k in subsidies for vocational education programs. This year’s total state contribution for education is $15,891,023.65, which covers 38% of the school budget.
While there are few programming additions in the budget this year, there are still significant increases to operating costs due mainly to increases in employee wages, health insurance cost increases, benefits and utility cost increases. About 80% of the school budget is driven by salaries, benefits and debt service.
In total, the School Department budget request this year is $2,911,903 higher than last year, including a $100K increase to Adult Education costs. The total requested budget is $26,640,974. If adopted as presented, this budget would impact the mill rate by about $0.93.
Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Presentation
- Watch the Presentation - Part I
- Watch the Presentation - Part II (Begins at 1:28:30)
- View the PowerPoint - Part I
- View the PowerPoint - Part II
- April 6 Meeting - Capital Improvement Workshop
- Capital Improvement Workshop Presentation (PDF)
Presentation Part I
The City Manager presented the first of two presentations about the Fiscal Year 2024 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) at the January 24, 2023 City Council meeting.
The Capital Improvement Plan is adopted each year as a planning document for capital improvement projects and is integrated with the Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
The City Council is directly responsible for over $223 million in assets.
Using a model that assumes investment in capital based on its lifespan, the total annual investment that would be required is nearly $8 million.
Pre-Covid, the City Manager’s recommended annual appropriations goal for capital improvements was $2.5 million. The new recommended goal is $3.5 million, phasing up to $4.5 million over five years. Strategies to close the gap between needs and appropriations include strategic borrowing and aggressively searching for opportunities for other funding, such as grants.
Inflation will make a major impact on the funding strategy this year. Additionally, the City is in the process of working with the Department of Environmental Protection on the next five-year consent agreement for CSO improvements, which will dictate the amount of spending on sewer projects that will be required.
Department Heads have requested $27 million in funding to cover their needs for Fiscal Year 2024, and the planned appropriation for FY24 is $2.75 million. The second part of the presentation at a future meeting will cover adjustment recommendations to requested funding and detailed information about each request that has been submitted.
Presentation Part II
The City Manager recommended that the Council funds the following projects in Fiscal Year 2023, among other items:
- $150,000 for Community Center emergencies and planning
- $200,000 for Fire Station roof
- $100,000 for City Hall parking, including South Street
- $30,000 for document scanning project
- $300,000 for engineering for 2nd pedestrian/bike bridge (to be matched by Saco)
- $50,000 to prepare bid specs for Pearl Street Park
- $847,500 for paving/sidewalks
- $600,000 cash for vehicle replacement
- $300,000 for recreational needs
- $150,000 for ADA compliance
The Big Picture
The presentation also included an overview of the bigger picture of capital funding needs and ongoing projects throughout the city:
- The City has $3.75 million in bond proceeds to make upgrades to City Hall.
- The School Department is expected to vacate the JFK school in June 2025. At that time, the building will return the City. Investments at the existing J. Richard Martin Community Center have been generally put on hold in the event that the JFK site is used as a Community Center in the future. However, that building does have some maintenance needs, such as issues with its boiler.
- The Mill District is the largest section of dense population without proper lighting and sidewalks. The City Manager recommends $1.2 million in funding from various sources to make pedestrian and bike safety improvements.
- There are multiple funding needs associated with affordable housing that have recently been identified. The City Manager recommends using FY23 funding to hire assistance to determine the level of service that the community should provide to the unhoused.
- It is expected that the Eastern Fire/EMS Substation Committee will recommend the construction of a new fire substation. This recommendation was also made by the Center for Public Safety Management in their study of the Biddeford Fire Department. The City Manager recommends using $150,000 of bond proceeds to do initial architectural work and asking voters to approve a bond for the new station.
- There is a congressional earmark for $7.8 million to upgrade Elm Street from the Saco line to Main St. for improved pedestrian, bike and vehicle safety. The estimated City share for this project is $7.5 million, with funds coming from a mix of sources such as traffic permits, PACTS, and FY22 and FY23 operational surpluses.
- There are capital needs at the Ice Arena that need to be addressed.
- Ongoing sewer separation work, which is required by the EPA, is expected to cost $6,469,000.
- The Airport fueling system needs to be replaced in FY26 at the latest at an estimated cost of $1,000,000.
- The long-term viability of the Police Station needs consideration.