A $91,199,199 City of Claremore budget is currently being reviewed for approval.
City Manager Jim Thomas said the proposed fiscal year 2018 budget includes a 2.5 percent cost of living adjustment, some salary increases, and a host of capital improvement, infrastructure and department projects.
The proposed budget is one the finance committee, and the city council, can stand behind, Thomas said.
The budget ultimately required difficult choices — all with an end goal of providing the quality of service the citizens of Claremore have come to expect, Thomas told the council during his presentation Monday night.
“We're not like the federal government; our revenue and expenses have to match. We have $91 million in revenue and we anticipate spending about $91 million,” Thomas said, adding that the budget is focused on supporting long-range strategic goals.
“Over the last four years, we have adjusted our water, sewer, sanitation and the monthly customer charge to address capital expenditure needs. Tonight, we are not recommending any new increases in our revenue streams,” Thomas announced. “We are confident our revenues and expenses can be met with our fiscal year 2018 budget as outlined.”
A “strategic market salary increase” will be given to certain employees to allow Claremore to remain competitive in the job market with surrounding cities.
Thomas said the city has strategically hired some new employees and re-
codified others to better reflect job assignments.
The deputy city manager serves as both the human resources manager and the risk management coordinator. Thomas said they were also able to align their resources and create an engineering department, to which full time engineer Garrett Ball was hired last month.
A three-person crew will be utilized to address storm water flooding issues and repair storm water inlets, he said.
Thomas said fiscal year 2018 budget highlights include the master planning of a 100-acre property on the north end of town that will include a transfer station, regional law enforcement firearms range and a trustees farm.
Also highlighted are new restrooms and a pavilion on the south end of Claremore Lake to accompany the soon-to-be-opened splash pad.
“Our airport runway and taxiway will receive an overlay. We were fortunate enough to receive an FAA grant of about $2.8 million to allow that to transpire,” he told the council.
The budget also allocates funds to purchase 15 new patrol cars for Claremore Police Department.
Infrastructure and transportation, he said, is a key part of the budget.
“Southhaven/Country Club Corridor; in this budget there is about $8 million for that. That's a two-mile stretch of road that will be a full three lanes wide. Southaven; we have an interlocal agreement with Commissioner Ron Burrows to assist in that planning,” Thomas said.
Quiet zones will also be a priority this year.
Currently the city is collecting roughly $10.8 million in sales tax revenue and Thomas hopes to see a spike in that number following new development.
“We're currently about $54 million in debt. We're not at the cap of where we could be, but as you can see, each year we're retiring about $5-6 million in debt.
“I think we are well managed with our debt — we're not overly using our credit cards,” Thomas said.
Ending on a high-note, Thomas said he's optimistic about the future of Claremore and the growth he expects to see in this year and the next.
The budget presentation was for discussion only, so the council was not asked to vote.