Frequently Asked Questions
What is the current and proposed Budget?
The City of Bedford's current budget is $32,684,357 and the proposed '17-18 Budget is $33,808,469.
What has changed with the City of Bedford’s approach to making budget decisions?
City Council took a beneficial step forward in this planning process by moving beyond single-year, 'snapshot' budgeting to making decisions based on how they will impact the financial sustainability of the City in the future. They spent a considerable amount of time discussing various tax and revenue scenarios, their impact on future budgets, and how they would support city operations over the long-term. For the past 15+ years, Bedford has taken a conservative approach to budgeting – while the City continues to be fiscally responsible/conservative there are critical needs that the city must address
What is contributing to the City's current budget situation? What is requiring the City to consider a budget above rollback?
The City's cost to deliver service continues to increase annually while non-property tax revenues and fees remain stagnant.Property taxes comprise a third of the City's General Fund revenue and is the only remaining source available to balance the budget. On the expense side, 79% of the General Fund proposed budget consists of personnel (salaries and benefits); the general fund comprises most of the City's critical service delivery including, police, fire, building safety, code enforcement, and park and recreation programming, and maintenance.
Define Adopted Tax Rate
It is the property tax rate approved by the governing body to fund operations for the upcoming year. The 16-17 Adopted Tax Rate is $0.476509.
Define Effective Rate
It is the tax rate that would generate the same amount of property tax revenue as in the previous year with the same properties listed on both tax rolls. A standard rule of thumb suggests an inverse relationship between effective rate and taxable value. For example, if the taxable value INCREASES, the effective rate goes DOWN (and vice versa). The effective rate for 17-18 is $0.428805.
The maximum allowed property tax rate that cannot be overturned by voters. The '17-18 Rollback rate is $0.480920
What tax rate is the City considering for the '17-18 Budget?
Bedford is proposing a tax rate of $0.52
What specific changes helped increase the '17-18 proposed budget from the current fiscal year?
The proposed tax rate, recommended by staff ($0.497), funds services at existing levels and includes a compensation package consisting of year 2 of the public safety step plan and 3.75% increase across the board for all remaining critical city employees. In addition, the Mayor and Council have agreed to address critical City needs that include the following priorities:
• 2nd set of Personal Protective safety gear for all Firefighters to protect from serious injuries and illness due to exposure to cancer-causing agents
• Replacement motorcycles for Police Officers in the Traffic unit
• Enterprise Fleet Program - replacing over 50 vehicles that average over 13 years in age with 28 vehicles 15 years or older. Moving to this program will save the city approximately $500,000 over a 10-year period through increased equity at sale and decreased operating expenses
• Citywide phone system replacement - current system is over 10 years old. It is no longer supported by Avaya (vendor) and is increasingly difficult to find replacement parts for the current units causing disruption in customer service
• Addressing critical public safety software and equipment needs such as computer-aided dispatch of fire and police personnel and police officer computers installed in their cars with the assistance of contracted IT support.
• Standby pay for Police Department CRASH and SWAT personnel – pay for employees required to be prepared for duty while otherwise home and not physically at work
• A compensation study to ensure that Bedford's pay rates are competitive and fair, to continue supporting employee retention and recruitment
In order to fund these critical City needs, the proposed tax rate has to be $0.52 instead of $0.497
What options does the City have for reducing its current level of spending?
There are few options remaining that would not have a direct impact on the services provided by the city. Reducing expenditures would result in major changes to current levels and types of services provided to all stakeholders of the city.
How will this budget impact my taxes?
For the average residential homeowner, there is a potential 20.49% increase in your tax bill, which equates to an approx. $14.00 increase per month
If I am over 65, how does this impact my taxes?
There is no impact, your taxes will REMAIN THE SAME.