Council hunkers down with the budget

By Jeremy Morrison, Inweekly

The Pensacola City Council this week is settling in for two days of workshops to review Mayor Grover Robinson’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020. The workshops — likely marathon sessions stretching hours and drilling down into budgetary minutiae — will take place Wednesday and Thursday.

“I don’t expect them to be perfectly happy with everything we’ve put out there. I do think what we’ve put out there is a good plan to go forward,” Mayor Robinson said Monday. “There’s no perfect budget, but I think it’s a very good job.”

The 2020 proposed budget totals $245 million, with $58 million in the general fund. The millage rate, at 4.2895 mills, remains the same as it has since 2012.

The proposed budget does feature increases in various departments. Public Safety, for example, jumped from nearly $53.7 million in 2019 to $57.7 million for 2020. Similar jumps can be seen in departments handling recreation, transportation, economics and the environment. Robinson has said that the increases are reflective of his intent to increase pay for city employees, as well as offering additional merit-based pay.

“I think it ties into the mission and allows us to begin to push different ideas,” the mayor said of elements of his budget, such as the increase in pay for employees.

City Administrator Chris Holley said that he and CFO Dick Barker have met individually with council members in preparation for the budget workshops.

“So, there’s been an initial briefing,” Holley said, adding that each council member will have their own focus, but that no particular hotspots were identified during the one-on-ones. “As you would expect it comes down to capital projects and LOST, and they all have different ideas about prioritizing projects and things like that, but nothing out of the ordinary.”

City Council’s budget workshops will take place Wednesday, from 1 to 5 p.m., at Pensacola City Hall, and on Thursday, beginning at 9 a.m. The city council will hold public hearings later in September to adopt the final budget.

For a look at the proposed 2020 budget, check here: