The Pelham City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY 2024) budget on Monday, September 18, 2023. The budget is just over $93.8 million and reflects the City's commitment to continued growth and prosperity and prioritizes the concerns and preferences of Pelham's residents.
The 2022 Citizen Satisfaction Survey allowed city leaders to obtain a baseline measurement of residents' perceptions and has been used to inform budget priorities for the second consecutive year. The top priorities from the survey are stormwater management, traffic congestion, and road and facilities maintenance. These priorities are evident throughout the FY 2024 budget, including projects such as the CR-52 railroad flyover, Highway 261 widening, drainage improvements, and traffic light intersection improvements. Along with the City's comprehensive plan, the citizen survey gives clear direction on what the citizens want the City to provide and accomplish.
The budget reflects a predicted continued increase in the cost of goods and services next year and health and liability insurance increases. While the personnel costs reflect higher benefit rates for existing and retired employees and regular step increases for salaries, total operations expenses are kept within 3% of last year despite the rising cost of inflation. While the new one-cent sales tax increase on some goods results in an overall sales tax increase in this budget, we are budgeting revenue conservatively with a predicted 3% decrease in sales tax revenues year over year, as economic predictors experience rapid fluctuation and a slight downward trend in some of our sales tax categories over the last three months.
In addition to the budget priorities, the FY 2024 budget also allocates funding for capital projects that align with the survey findings:
Parks & Recreation: Recognizing the community's desire for expanded recreational options, the budget includes funding for several new amenities for residents of all ages.
Road Rehabilitation: Annual street paving funding received a significant increase in the FY 2024 budget, totaling $1.25 million. This will ensure smoother, safer, and more accessible roadways throughout the city.
Economic Development: The City continues to have projects that will have a significant impact on economic development. Those include:
- Welborn Street - Pelham's Commercial Development Authority has sold the Wellborn Street property to United Construction and Design. United plans to construct a mixed commercial, retail, restaurant, and office space with three buildings.
- Oak Mountain Trail Development – This new development off CR-52 is pad-ready and is already home to Tractor Supply. There has also been much interest in other food, retail, and hoteliers for the other areas of the site.
- Ascension St. Vincent's - This freestanding emergency department, primary care, and multispecialty space is highly anticipated in the area. A facility of this magnitude could be the differentiator between life and death for someone needing immediate care. The proposed project includes medical specialty as well.
- Pelham Park Development – The property in front of the library is moving forward with plans for a retail/office space with dining choices and a city-managed outdoor gathering space for residents and visitors to enjoy. The details of the development agreement are being finalized, and the project will be moving forward.
- The Pelham Arts & Entertainment District is slated to be up and running this fall. The area will encompass the areas that include the Pelham Civic Complex & Ice Arena, Campus 124, the Canopy, and Creekside BBQ. It will serve to expand the area in which alcohol can be consumed.
The City of Pelham strives to make its annual Budget Book easy to understand to facilitate broader consumption and greater comprehension of the municipal budgeting process. It identifies the services provided, the funding sources, and the rationale behind key decisions. Because municipal budgets are large, the time required to read and understand the entire document is substantial. That's why we have also published a supplemental Budget-in-Brief (BIB) with the adoption of the FY 2024 budget. A BIB is a summary of the main Budget Book.
The new fiscal year begins October 1, 2023.