Despite a struggling national economy, the 2013-2014 fiscal year budgets are looking optimistic for the northwest towns of Oro Valley and Marana.

Both towns, which are regular recipients of the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, are seeing growth from the year prior in such areas as sales tax revenue, state shared revenue, and license/permitting revenue.

That surplus will mean new capital projects, programs, and benefits to employees in the coming year.

Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said employees would likely receive a similar raise to what was seen last year – a two percent salary increase with a one-time cost of living adjustment. 

The revenue surplus will also allow new staff positions.

“We have some additional dollars to be allocated to some key strategic positions to serve various elements of the community,” said Davidson. “Those positions are still in the early stages of being determined.”

The town’s 2012-2013 preliminary budget revenues were $31.7 million compared to a projected $32.8 the coming fiscal year.

Expenditures last year calculated to about $29.6 million as opposed to $28.5 million this year – though that number does not represent employee raises, which are still being finalized.

Davidson said some of the capital projects this year would include maintenance and improvements to road infrastructure, upgrades to Marana River Heritage Park, and continued community events, such as the recently passed Marana Main Street Festival.

Oro Valley recently presented its proposed 2013-2014 fiscal year budget to council, showing a surplus of $38,644 to the $37.9 million General Fund budget.

Much of the surplus has come from a reduction in staff and sustained vacancies, according to Town Manager Greg Caton.

“The town has reduced staff considerably over the past five years,” he said. “In fiscal year 2008-2009, the adopted budget included 389 full-time equivalent positions (FTE). The recommended fiscal year 2013-2014 budget includes a total of 330 authorized FTE positions.”

Caton said $567,000 has been allotted for merit/step increases for employees.

About $1.8 million was saved over the last two years through vacancy savings.

Investing in employees is one of the six core themes making up the town’s budget strategy. The proposed budget will also focus on investing in infrastructure and town assets, technology upgrades, economic development, support of quality of life, and revenue enhancement/expanded reductions.

Projects and services anticipated for the coming year include a new police evidence facility, enhanced programming/events at the Aquatic Center, and continued upgrades at Steam Pump Ranch.

A number of town vehicles will also be replaced, costing $483,000.

The town has initiated a set-aside fund of $108,000 for the future replacement of vehicles.

The town’s total recommended budget is $93.9 million, down 1.6 percent from the year prior.

While state legislation has had minimal impacts on Marana and Oro Valley to date, town management in both jurisdictions say there could be dire consequences resulting from impending House Bill 2111, which would eliminate construction sales tax at the state and local levels. 

The 2013-2014 fiscal year begins July 1.

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