Discussions on Highland’s 2020 fiscal budget began at a recent city council meeting as city department heads discussed budgetary needs.
The $57 million draft budget focuses on the city’s new public safety building, replacements of aging water and sewer infrastructure in town, finished the city’s fiber project, the All Abilities Playground and more.
A 4 percent increase in operating and maintenance expenditures, couple with a 6 percent increase in operating revenues is included in the budget. Nearly $913,000 was transferred to the city’s reserves.
The city’s total expenses are at a 5 percent increase from the previous year’s budget. That’s due to major investments in the city’s infrastructure.
In the public safety department, beyond the estimated $7 million public safety building that recently went out for bid, police, fire and emergency medical services are requesting funds for new technology, equipment and upgrades to existing buildings.
Public works Department Head Joe Gillespie said his department will continue its work on the city’s more than 80 year old water and sewer infrastructure, upgrading existing streets and investing in the Broadway streetscape project.
The electric department is continuing plans to invest in smart meters, installing a new Northtown substation transformer and upgrading street lighting throughout town, said Department head Dan Cook.
Highland Communication Service Director Angela Imming said her budget would fund plans to finish the build out of the city’s fiber service, initiate the city’s new business Technology Incentive Program, reduce lag times in service and create an app to pull in new customers.
Parks Department Director Mark Rosen said finishing the All Abilities Playground at Rinderer Park and building trails throughout the city are main focuses on the parks and recreation budget.
The city also discussed miscellaneous funds throughout the city. That includes the libraries budget and funding to other organizations like the Chamber of Commerce.
A tentative budget will be made available for public viewing will be available Monday, April 1. A public hearing will be held Monday, April 15, and after the city council will vote to adopt the budget.