Alabaster budget includes employee raises, new police station
Published 2:02 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2018
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – Alabaster leaders said they are looking to grow the city’s departments – especially public safety – to keep pace with the city’s expanding population, and have seen a significant growth in tax revenues since the late-2000s financial crisis, according to the city’s recently passed 2019 fiscal year budget.
City Council members voted unanimously during their Sept. 24 meeting to pass the budget, which marked the end of a several-month period of meeting with city department heads and drafting the document, said Council President Scott Brakefield.
The budget projects about $42.7 million in revenues and about $47.8 million in expenditures, although the expenditures are skewed by the about $6.2 million in bond money the city obtained during the 2018 fiscal year to help fund a new police station, the Alabama 119 widening project and other capital projects.
Included in the budget is a 3 percent merit raise for most city employees, a 5-percent increase in the amount of employee health insurance covered by the city and nine new positions: An executive director of engineering and infrastructure, a city clerk, three new police officer positions, a firefighter/paramedic, two park maintenance technicians and a facilities manager.
One penny of the city’s sales tax is earmarked for the city’s education fund, which is projected to generate about $5.3 million for the Alabaster City School System during the 2019 fiscal year – Up from about $5.1 million during the 2018 fiscal year.
“The residents of Alabaster expect superior service and accountability for their tax dollars. Therefore, the city has created a budget that provides high quality services in a manner that is cost-effective and respects the tax dollars we collect,” Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon wrote in her summary of the budget. “Alabaster is a wonderful place to live and raise a family, and I believe that the services provided by the city are a primary contributor to the quality of life in Alabaster. This budget is the first step towards the city’s continued success for the 2019 fiscal year.”
Alabaster Finance Director John Haggard said the city worked to provide as much information and context on the budget as possible this year in the document posted to the city’s website. The 2019 budget can be viewed at Cityofalabaster.com/DocumentCenter/View/2678/Alabaster-Budget-Fiscal-Year-2019-PDF.
“We tried to anticipate what people may want to know about next year and put that information into the document,” Haggard said during an interview before the council meeting. “Our goal is to be as transparent as possible while still providing context.”
As with last year, the budget also ranked the top 10 sales tax-generating businesses for the previous calendar year: Walmart Supercenter, Lowe’s, Walmart Neighborhood Market, Publix, Target, Best Buy, Belk, Aldi, TJ Maxx and Chick-Fil-A.
The top employers in Alabaster for 2017 were: Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Alabaster Board of Education, CGC Automotive Americas, Deshazo Crane, Lhoist North America, Chandler Health and Rehab, Shelby Ridge and Rehab Select, Hibbett Sports, Mspark and Fresenius Medical.