HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Huntsville City Council members met on Thursday night for a work session to discuss the city’s 2022 fiscal year budget.
The 2021 budget included $236 million in general fund operations and $140 million in capital spending, city officials expect the budget to grow on all fronts.
Thursday night, Huntsville City Council members talked about funding plans ahead of Mayor Tommy Battle’s budget presentation for 2022. A major priority for all council members, road resurfacing throughout the city.
Mayor Tommy Battle said budget time is the time to consider what’s crucial to the city’s success.
“There’s a limited amount of funding for a large number of requests out there. So this is a great time for us to start that conversation,” Battle added.
Council members also presented their priorities for the city money.
Councilman Bill Kling wants to double the amount set aside for road resurfacing in the city, increasing it to almost $20 million.
Kling said, “What I’m hearing above and beyond anything else about city needs is road repair, road resurfacing, road patching whatever.”
Public Works Director Chris McNeese says their department is in a battle for labor and the lack of road resurfacing is a labor problem, not a money problem.
“Even though I applaud the effort, it’s a very aggressive effort and I think its great to consider doubling the budget for resurfacing it may not produce the outcome we would want in this era that we are in. Just the unprecedented time of the labor pool we’re dealing with,” McNeese added.
He suggests the city consider incremental growth in funding for road resurfacing of a 25-30 percent increase rather than doubling the budget.
City administrator John Hamilton says the focus of the capital plan is on growth.
“City hall, new fire stations, some specific facility investments in the police department and then a lot of quality of life stuff. Lots of parks and greenways,” says Hamilton.
Mayor Battle is expected to present his budget at the first city council meeting in September before the council votes on the 2022 budget two weeks after that.