Fairhope City Council unanimously approved the 2024 budget just in time for the new fiscal year to begin Oct. 1.
The 2024 municipal budget for the City of Fairhope is $158 million. For comparison, the 2023 municipal budget was just under $130 million. That is a 21.58 % increase.
The 2024 municipal budget includes funding for a 2% cost of living raise, a 2-3% merit raise for qualified employees and the addition of 16 new positions in utilities and general government.
"I did want to address, too, this year that we are budgeting flat. You will see that we are budgeting flat in salaries compared to last year's budget," Sullivan said to council during the Sept. 25 work session. "This year, we were around 85-86% staffed so we were able to take that extra $3 million in salaries and absorb our cost of living increases as well as merit increases and the new positions in that figure, hoping that next year we can get close to fully staffed, that that number will level out for us. There is the possibility that we will need to come back to the council for additional funds six months in or a little longer if we were at about 95% to 100% staffed."
Budget highlights include:
- $42.6 million in utility system improvements;
- $2.3 million in road resurfacing, on-street parking and drainage projects;
- $1.8 million in traffic improvement projects;
- $2.6 million in sidewalk construction projects;
- $6.1 million in parks and recreation facility improvements that include municipal pool repairs, Founder's Park Competition Track, Manley Field bleachers and upgrades, new tennis and pickle ball courts at Mike Ford Tennis Center, North Triangle Nature Park & Center;
- $2.5 million for the K-1 Center project; and
- $646,000 for Quail Creek Golf Course that includes drainage and course improvements, cart path renovation, cart barn and maintenance barn roof replacement and driving range renovation.
When it was time to vote on the budget, councilman Jack Burrell commented, "I am going to vote in favor of this, but I am going to tell you, with this budget this year, there's going to be some lively discussions when some of these expenditures come up. Just be prepared for that."
Council unanimously approved the budget.
Other council notes
During the regular council meeting, council:
- Laid over an ordinance to annex 1.7 acres on Gayfer Road Extension owned by the Utility Board of the City of Foley (doing business as Riviera Utilities) and the Fairhope Single Tax Corporation;
- Laid over an ordinance amending ordinance 1510, which would allow city employees to convert unused sick leave to retirement service;
- Approved an option for employees to convert sick leave to retirement service credit or take a one-time lump sum payment;
- Approved the submission of pre-application for fiscal year 2024 Airport Improvement Program and Airport Infrastructure Grant Projects for H.L. "Sonny" Callahan Airport;
- Approved a replacement roof project for the Quail Creek Cart Bar from Roof Doctors with a not-to-exceed $22,000;
- Approved the procurement and installation of a new fire alarm control panel for the Civic Center from Hunter Security with a not to exceed of $11,494;
- Approved a resolution to amend resolution 3859-20 to allow the Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee to change their meeting frequency, date and location. They will now meet every other first Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m. at the Fairhope Museum of History;
- Approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Sherry Sullivan to expend Impact Fees for projects designated from the Impact Fee Account for services for the police, fire, transportation and parks and recreation benefit areas;
- Approved a resolution to approve and adopt the recommendations to fund new positions and approve pay grades, reclassify positions, transfers and deleted position as presented in the 2024 budget;
- Approved a resolution to select Krebs Engineering for professional engineering services for a Water Distribution System Capacity Expansion Project;
- Approved a resolution to purchase a 2023 Toyota Tacoma truck or equivalent for the police department from Toyota Montgomery with a not-to-exceed of $29,500; and
- Approved a request from the Fairhope Sunset Rotary Club for the use of city streets for the fifth-annual 0.5K Run in Fairhope. The run benefits local charities and is set for Jan. 13, 2024.