Each year the Kinston City Council and Mayor rank nine categories in preparation for the annual budget process. Every category is important, but this process helps guide and shape the conversations regarding our limited resources. Once the priorities are received from each elected official the City Manager’s office averages them. There is no vote to approve the order, this simply is a road map for us. Here are this year’s budget priorities as ranked by the elected officials:
1. Street Resurfacing – To resurface streets on a 25 year cycle requires 4.5 miles to be resurfaced each year with a current cost of $390,000/year.
2. Replacement of water, sewer, and electric infrastructure – Much of Kinston’s utility systems were built over 40 years ago and while they are still functioning, it is time to replace a lot of the aging infrastructure. We have been making progress, but have much left to do. Should we devote more resources to this effort?
3. Employee Benefits – The city’s contribution to the retirement system will increase by .53% this year. How important is it to maintain employee benefits such as vacation, sick leave, retirement, and 401K?
4. Community Appearance – Replacement of street signs, high grass complaints, demolition of dilapidated structures, unlicensed vehicles, increase enforcement of minimum housing, etc.
5. Tied. Patrol Vehicle Replacement – Current goal to maintain fleet that is less than 5 years old and replace patrol vehicles with approximately 90,000 miles.
5. Tied. Employee Salary Increase – Ensure that employees are compensated fairly as compared to other communities.
7. Building Repair, Maintenance, and Appearances – Replacement of roofs, bathroom updates, replacement of carpet in public areas, HVAC Systems, appearance of Council Chambers, etc.
8. Non-Patrol Vehicle Replacement – Current goal to replace vehicles that are 10-15 years old with over 100,000 miles or less than 10 years old with over 200,000 miles
9. Succession Planning – Planning for future staffing needs by additional development of current staff or hiring replacements before employees retire.
Our next budget worksession will be on Monday, April 19th at 5:30 pm. The public is invited to attend the meeting at City Hall.