Mayor’s proposed 2015 Mobile city budget released

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -After weeks of discussion and speculation, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson filled in details Tuesday on his proposed budget for next year.

He released that information at the Mobile City Council meeting.

The mayor’s proposal includes information that non-profit organizations have been waiting to hear: how much money, if any, they would be getting from the city next year.

Mayor Stimpson gave the city council details on the budget highlights he announced Monday.

That includes a 400 percent increase in money for capital projects.

Stimpson said that included, “Three million dollars for park improvements and repairs, whether it be the fields, the lights, the rest rooms, dog parks, walking, and bike trails.”

MONEY FOR NON-PROFITS

But, details of funding for non-profit groups weren’t released until Tuesday.

Many groups that got money last year will receive none directly from the city this year.

But, the mayor is recommending those groups find funding through the United Way and the Community Foundation of South Alabama, which are slated to get $1.2 million dollars in the budget.

Stimpson said, “The United Way is set up to do that. You cannot imagine the amount of time we spent looking at all the information submitted to us for consideration, and just the time consuming part of that when we realize there’s somebody better equipped to make that decision.”

PAY RAISE AND HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS

The mayor already announced a two and a half percent raise for city employees in October and a two and half percent merit raise next April.

But, he has also said employees will begin paying more for health insurance.

Today, it was revealed new hires will pay 40 percent of health care costs, with the city paying 60 percent.

When asked if a 60/40 split was high for employees, Stimpson said, “No, its not, when you compare what other metropolitan areas are doing, what’s going on in the private sector. That’s market. That’s definitely market.”

EXTENDING THE SALES TAX

Mayor Stimpson is also recommending that the city council extend the temporary one percent sales tax for two months through September 30th of next year.

He said, “Why it was never sunsetted right toward the end of the fiscal year seemed to be very arbitrary.”

Now, city council members start to pour over the proposal.

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