Daphne approves $41.9-million budget

DAPHNE – The city of Daphne’s budget for the upcoming year that will reach almost $42 million, an increase of more than 7 percent. The Daphne City Council voted Monday, Sept. 20, to approve the municipal budget for the 2022 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The budget estimates city revenue for the upcoming year at $41.9 million, up from $39 million in the 2021 budget. Doug Goodlin, council president, praised Daphne Finance Director Kelli Reid and other city employees for their work preparing the budget. “In the Finance Committee, we were complementing the mayor and staff, Ms. Reid and others for the wonderful job they’ve done on the budget this year,” Goodlin said. “In my five years here, it’s been the smoothest that we’ve had in a long time.” Councilman Steve Olen said the information provided by city officials helped council members understand the complex budget. “Everything is right there for us to look at and understand and both were great and responsive to questions,” he said. “Really a complement to them that this went so smoothly.” The council voted to suspend operating rules to pass the budget ordinance at the same meeting it was introduced. Mayor Robin LeJeune said the move allowed the new budget to be approved before the 2021 budget expires. “Thank y’all for suspension of the rules in passing the budget,” LeJeune told council members. “That makes everything a lot easier, so we really do appreciate that. This is more the staff than myself. Kelli and her staff do an outstanding job of getting the budget together for us and we get to sit down and haggle over what gets done and the rest of the staff.” LeJeune said city officials did not include everything requested, but the budget does include new positions in several departments. “Really, our directors are putting in what they need and not just creating things that they want. They put a lot of thought and effort into it,” LeJeune said. “And although they were not able to get everything they want; we were able to try this year. I know it was talked about with the amount of staff, adding to it, but we felt like this was a year to try to show that we wanted to increase what we were doing in the city to make it run smoother so I really do appreciate that.” The new budget includes 38 new permanent and temporary positions, according to city reports. In the current fiscal year, city revenue exceeded the $39 million estimate by more than $3 million. The council also voted Sept. 20 to use that money for three upcoming projects. The council voted to appropriate $1 million each for improvements to the city Justice Center, a new animal shelter and an amphitheater at Bayfront Park.