As more people move to Marana the town is seeing growth in all parts of their operating budget, with revenues and expenditures increasing over last year.
Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta and Finance Director Yiannis Kalaitzidis presented Marana’s recommended operating budget to the town council last Tuesday, April 23. The final overall budget will be finalized on June 18.
The operating budget includes the General Fund, Highway User Revenue Fund, Bed Tax Fund, Water Operating Fund, Wastewater Operating Fund and Airport Operating Fund.
That totals $57.1 million, an increase of 3 percent from last year’s budget. Of that figure, $34.5 million is included for personnel and benefits, $14.4 million for contracted services and $8.2 million for supplies and equipment.
To keep up with demand, staff recommends investment in the town’s employees and resources.
Council could potentially approve 11 new full-time positions and one part-time position, which would cost a little over $1 million. These positions will serve the Parks & Recreation, Public Works, Water, Police and Community & Neighborhood Services departments.
“None of the needs were unnecessary, none of those positions were any positions that we thought were unneeded,” Kalaitzidis said of the requests from various departments.
Out of 20 positions that were requested by town staff, the budget team was able to narrow it down to 11.
About $2 million is budgeted for vehicle and related equipment replacements. Marana currently has 10 police cars and two motorcycles engaged in a replacement program, where at the time of purchase of a new vehicle, the town starts to set aside money for its replacement.
“That way, as it comes to the point where it has reached a certain number of miles or a certain number of years where we expect and anticipate that the maintenance and upkeep and repairs for that vehicle might no longer be cost efficient, then we have already gathered enough money aside to replace that vehicle,” Kalaitzidis said.
The General Fund is expected to increase by 4 percent, with $46.8 million at the town’s disposal. Staff expect increases in sales tax revenues from retail, restaurants and hotels, but also a 13 percent decrease in construction sales tax.
More than $3.7 million will go toward one-time expenditures for the town’s vehicles, equipment, technology and disaster recovery software, town-owned facility improvements and enhancements to parks and recreation facilities.
“All the dollars that you see being spent here, almost $4 million that is being used under the change in fund balance, relates to one-time items,” Kalaitzidis said.
Much of this money is carried over from last year, where money was not spent.
Kalaitzidis said the League of Cities and Towns, an organization for incorporated municipalities in Arizona, projected Marana’s state shared revenues to increase by 9.3 percent, or about $1.1 million due to growth in the town.
“However, these numbers are still preliminary, even though they are, we believe, better estimates, and we hope that by mid-May, by the next time we come in front of council we will have better numbers and more solid numbers here,” he added.
Revenues from town-distributed licenses and permits have slowed in the third quarter of this fiscal year. At this time last year there were 575 permits issued, compared to 544 this year.
“What this means is that in order for us to just hit our budgeted number of 740, we will need to average about 65 permits a month for the next three months,” Kalaitzidis said.
The Bed Tax Fund is expected to increase by 13 percent to over $1.2 million, a change that Kalaitzidis attributes to the town’s growth and the new Hampton Inn near the Tucson Premium Outlet Mall. By the end of 2020, they hope to have about $1.9 million in the fund compared to the current $1 million.
“We use it to pay for our tourism bureau activities, as well as for our state land lease,” Kalaitzidis said.
Also increased from last year is the $3.7 million expected to come in the Highway User Revenue Fund, also known as HURF. The League of Cities and Towns projects an 11 percent increase in revenues for that fund, which is based on a preliminary Census estimate and should become more precise in an update next month.
“In this particular instance, the [$1.25 million] more that we’re using is mostly associated with the pavement preservation program from this current year,” Kalaitzidis said. “We had an amount budgeted in the current year, we are realizing that the majority of that amount, about $975,000, is not going to be spent in the current year, but there is still need for that program moving forward.”