Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson and the finance department are putting the finishing touches on the town’s $33 million budget that went before the council on April 16.
Rodney Campbell, a spokesman for the town, said the budget is looking better than previous years, experiencing a two percent growth in revenues going into the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
“In years past, you’ve heard nothing but how much has to be cut,” he said. “This year that has been a bit of a surplus.”
Campbell said the additional revenues have been largely the result of increases in state shared revenues, urban shared revenues, and income tax returns, each of which could be indicative of a recovering economy.
“It’s going to show that not only are things getting better in the community, they are getting better on a statewide basis,” he said.
Campbell said the growth has also come from not filling vacated seats on town staff while the economy began its recovery.
Despite the revenue growth, Campbell said the town would continue to formulate its budget in a conservative manner.
“The last thing you want to do is get halfway through the year and not have the funds,” he said. “If you’re more conservative, you will be more likely to hit your numbers, and could exceed them.”
As a result of the 2 percent surplus, town staff recommended a cost of living adjustment for employees in a council meeting three weeks ago. The total amount has not yet been discussed.
“You don’t want to make the adjustment too high, because that will carry forward into future budgets,” said Campbell. “The numbers will likely be on the conservative side. We don’t want to have to worry about making pay cuts in the future.”
The suggestion found favor with Marana Mayor Ed Honea, who was one of a few council members to express support for the pay raise. Should the council vote for the cost of living adjustment, it would mark the first time since 2008 town employees have received a raise.
Campbell said the revenue surplus could also result in additional staff positions being added in the future to accommodate the town’s continuing growth and strategic initiatives. As of now, those positions are still to be determined.
Due to the wavering economy in the past few years, Campbell said the budget process has been more difficult than normal.
Campbell said this year’s growth has come as a result of laying the groundwork for the past several years while the economy was suffering.
The tentative budget approval goes before council on May 15, with the approval of the final budget scheduled for June 19.