Common Council Approves Flat Budget for 2021

 09/30/2020

The Noblesville 2021 Civil City budget was approved by the Common Council at its Sept. 29 meeting. The budget totals $81,343,630 with $68.9 million attributable to discretionary operational funds – a 0% increase compared to the 2020 Revised Budget for those funds.

The budget was created with four guiding principles: no increase in the overall city budget to maintain the $1.10 tax rate (per $100 of assessed value), no citywide yearly salary increase, no health insurance premium increases for employees and no new positions – except the four positions previously created to continue the implementation of the public safety priority, NobleAct.

“Flat-lining a budget is very difficult to do in a community like Noblesville that has seen extensive growth, but I believe that holding the line on spending for 2021 is prudent to ensure we manage through this economic recovery period and maintain a strong reserve balance to facilitate future investment and growth,” Mayor Chris Jensen said. “I want to thank the Common Council for their thoughtful review and support of the budget.”

Jensen said he remains committed to making smart investment in critical infrastructure, core services, and community projects that will facilitate recovery and growth in pursuit of policy pillars and goals.

“I want to commend our Chief Financial Officer and Controller, Jeff Spalding, and his team along with the rest of the administration for working hard to create a conservative budget to guide us into next year,” said Councilor Greg O’Connor, who heads the finance committee. “It is no easy task developing a flat budget in uncertain times. This conservative budget will help us as we move in to 2021 and get a clearer picture of our financial future while protecting what we have.”

In the spring, Jensen directed departments to identify expenditures that could be deferred or decreased so that more money could be reverted to the general fund at the end of the year. This direction will result in more than $1.3 million in reversions. The city also has not had to make any job cuts due to the fiscal impact of the ongoing pandemic. Noblesville is projected to end 2021 with more than $27 million in key cash reserves.

Several highlights of the 2021 Civil City budget include:

  • 44.6% of the total budget is dedicated to public safety – police, fire and EMS, and the city court. The budget also provides $17.4 million for street maintenance and improvements.

  • Provides $8.9 million for new capital investments such as installing Roundabouts on State Road 32 at River Road and State Road 38.

  • 57% of the total budget covers personnel expenses for the city’s 369 full-time and part-time public servants.

  • The budget utilizes $17.2 million in restricted operating funds, including the Motor Vehicle Highway fund and Local Road and Street fund, which receive state gasoline tax and vehicle excise tax distributions.

  • The budget includes $10.5 million in property tax levy debt service funds, which are paying off low-interest bonds that were leveraged to build significant community assets, such as the Hazel Dell/Little Chicago Road corridor, Finch Creek Park, City Hall and the four most recently constructed fire stations.

  • It also utilizes $3.7 million in restricted capital funds, including the Cumulative Capital Improvement fund, which is funded by state cigarette tax distributions.

For more information about the 2021 Budget, click here.