The city of Gulf Shores was scheduled to approve a budget with more than $181.4 million in revenue and about $180.57 million in expenses that includes new transportation projects, a justice center …
The city of Gulf Shores was scheduled to approve a budget with more than $181.4 million in revenue and about $180.57 million in expenses that includes new transportation projects, a justice center and raises for city workers.
The budget includes a 4% wage adjustment for city employees as well as 1.5% and 2.5% performance raises for workers who rate above average or exceptional on performance reviews. City Administrator Steve Griffin said the wage adjustment will keep Gulf Shores salaries in line with the pay of nearby municipalities.
"We wanted to do the wage adjustment for existing personnel," Griffin said at the city council work session Monday, Nov. 7. "We wanted to keep pace and or competitive with other jurisdictions. Wage adjustments have ranged between 2 and 5% between Orange Beach, Foley, Fairhope, etc. and in talking to the departments, we would rather invest in the employees that we have and continue with the training so that's being done."
Cindy King, finance and administrative services director, said general fund revenue was projected to be $65.7 million and expenses of $62.9 million. The budget includes a reserve target of 70% of general fund revenue, or $46 million.
She said city officials want to maintain Gulf Shores' bond ratings of AA plus with Moody's and Standard and Poor's.
"We've issued a debt, but we try to pay it off as quickly as possible," King said. "Our debt did go up by approximately $10 million and that was for that $150 million debt issue for the school improvements."
The budget also includes $35.3 million in major transportation improvement projects. The biggest single item is the Waterway East Connection at an expected cost of $12.28 million, King said.
Other transportation items include the pedestrian bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway at $8.9 million, Alabama 59 widening at $5.37 million, Waterway West Boulevard at $3.55 million and Coastal Gateway Boulevard connector to Baldwin County 6 at $1.8 million, according to budget reports.
In public safety, new items include a new justice center to replace the city's 39-year-old police station at a cost of $4.47 million and a new fire training tower and teaching facility with an estimated cost of $1 million.
The city also budgeted $5.8 million for beach restoration, with about $3.9 million of that cost being paid with money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to budget reports.
Mayor Robert Craft praised city employees for the work done preparing the budget.
"It's a fascinating project," Craft said. "We've received awards on this just about every year. It's amazing the in-depth knowledge that you gain here and the strategies for the city."
King said the city budget report will be available on the Gulf Shores municipal website after the council passes the budget.