By James Feichtner
On Sept. 21 at Fishers City Hall Auditorium, Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness presented the proposed 2016 City budget before city council.
The total operating budget was proposed at approximately $62 million with an operating capital income of approximately $6.9 million totaling at $69 million for the 2016 year.
Fadness went over the current state of the city’s fiscal health indicating the city’s cash reserves as an accurate point of reference. Fadness cited that Fishers has attentive goals when it comes to maintaining its reserves and that the city well meets those goals for 2016.
“One way we measure our fiscal health is how much do we have in cash reserves,” Fadness said “The city of Fishers has long had a very observant approach to cash reserves. We require that we maintain 50 percent of the current property tax revenue as reserves. Not only do we meet our cash reserves at the end of 2016, but we also anticipate having almost $1 million additional surplus above what we even need for cash reserves. We’re doing very well in that area.”
Comparing expenditures per capita to surrounding municipalities, Fishers was the lowest compared to Carmel, Westfield and Noblesville, at $1,245.46 per capita.
“Again I think this is a statement about not only the efficiency but also the effectiveness of the employees we have. It wouldn’t be a great story if all we had was efficient,” Fadness said. “The great story is that we can not only do it for less, but we can provide a great service.”
Other figures covered in the presentation were past, present and future main sources of revenue, debt obligations per capita, city net assessed value, and tax increment financing as well as investments in public safety, parks, personnel, fleet and 14 different road projects. Fadness noted that he hopes to continue in directing the city through the budget utilizing a smart, vibrant and entrepreneurial approach.
“The numbers that I just showed you reflect what it is we are going to spend,” Fadness said. “All these numbers reflect decisions we made to this 2016 budget. Some of the objectives we have in order to accomplish this budget were again to create that smart, vibrant, entrepreneurial city that we’ve all been talking about over the last year.
In closing, Fadness discussed how tax rates would be affected. While tax rates were estimated to slightly increase, they would return to the previous rate from 2014, making Fishers still one of the lowest tax rates of any major city in Indiana.
“What does this all mean to the tax rate? In 2016 we anticipate our tax rate to go up roughly 1.6 percent. Really what that means is in 2015 we had anticipated putting on debt. So our tax rate actually declined and now it’s going back to what it was in 2014. We are still the lowest tax rate in the major cities in Indiana, which I think is an extraordinary feat given the level of service and the amount of investment that we’re giving our community.”
No action was necessary at the council meeting and officials have until Nov. 1 to approve the budget. For the complete details on the Fishers 2016 Budget, visit http://www.fishers.in.us/documentcenter/view/6834