HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has released his proposed $281 million general fund budget for the fiscal year which begins October 1.
The mayor’s proposed budget includes $100 million in spending on capital projects and a 5 percent cost of living adjustment for city employees.
The Huntsville City Council is expected to take up the budget at a work session set for 5 p.m., Thursday. A final vote on the budget is expected on Sept. 22.
Huntsville has become Alabama’s largest city and the budget projects significant growth in sales tax receipts, from $121 million in fiscal year 2022 to $131.5 for the upcoming year.
The number of city employees is also expected to increase, according to the budget proposal’s Personnel Authorization Summary . It calls for a total of 3,102 employees, up 124 employees from fiscal ‘22 and up nearly 600 employees compared to fiscal 2019. That includes increasing the ranks of the Huntsville Police Department to 815 full- and part-time workers for the upcoming fiscal year. That’s an increase of 31 HPD employees compared to fiscal 2022.
Looking at revenue the mayor’s budget projects a 9 percent increase in property taxes, to $24 million. Online sales tax revenue, collected by the state and then a portion is distributed
to cities and counties based on population. The mayor’s budget shows that tax revenue has grown from just over $8 million in fiscal 2020 to a projected $14.8 million for fiscal 2023.
The budget also seeks to expand the Huntsville public works department, which includes sanitation workers, by a total of 42 more jobs, and it seeks a 35 percent increase in the public works budget. Earlier this year, there were a number of complaints about delays in trash pickup in Huntsville, and this appears aimed in part at helping address those kinds of issues.
The City of Huntsville submitted a correction to News 19 on Tuesday night, saying some of the numbers listed above were incorrect.
According to the City of Huntsville, the requested personnel increases for FY 2023 should read: HPD at 24 (12 civilian and 12 sworn officers), HFR at 19 (1 civilian and 18 firefighters), Public Works at 19 for maintenance and construction and 10 for sanitation.