Mayor Fraser, Members of Petoskey City Council, and Citizens of Petoskey:
I am pleased to present to you for your consideration the 2014 Annual Budget for the City of Petoskey. The 2014 Annual Budget has been prepared in accordance with the City Charter, and adheres to stated financial management policies and guidelines of maintenance of adequate reserves, and conservative revenue and expenditure forecasting. Each of the funds within this proposed budget are balanced, and none are in a deficit position, although reserves might supplement revenues.
Totaling $28,110,100, the proposed 2014 budget is $1.4M more than the 2013 Annual Budget primarily due to several large capital projects. The first phase of the Downtown Greenway Corridor from Bay Street to MacDonald Drive, and the reconstruction of Arlington Avenue, including street and utility improvements, will be a major focus of capital investment. In addition, the City will be partnering with MDOT for access management improvements on West Mitchell Street, including the re-alignment of Connable Avenue. Finally, Jennings Avenue will be repaved utilizing MDOT Small Urban funds. Notably the proposed 2014 budget is 5% less than the 2011 Annual Budget of $29,519,700 which included several large capital expenditures related to the Atkins Road project as well as water and wastewater improvements.
While the local real estate market appears to be stabilizing, foreclosures and short sales continue to impact the City's taxable value. Further, under a change in State law, personal property parcels with a taxable value of $40,000 or under will be exempt from property tax beginning in 2014, and this exemption will offset the anticipated modest growth in real property taxable value.
Between 2010 and 2012 the City lost 20% of its taxable value. In 2013, after three straight years of declining property tax values, the City's taxable value increased slightly by 0.8%. While final numbers will not be known until this spring, in 2014 we anticipate a modest 0.9% increase in taxable value.
However, threats to funding sources continue to exist, such as the possible elimination of all personal property taxes pending a statewide vote in November of 2014. Personal property taxes, including small parcels slated for elimination in 2014, currently account for 4% of the City's taxable value, or $215,000 in annual revenue. It should be noted that, if the vote to eliminate Personal Property Tax is successful, Petoskey will be ineligible for reimbursement under a provision of State law that will compensate many larger communities for this loss of personal property tax revenue.
It is also unlikely that the City's real property tax base will significantly strengthen in the near and medium term future. Under current Michigan law, increases in taxable value are limited to the rate of inflation or 5%, meaning it could be many years before the City's taxable values return to peak levels seen in 2009.
For several years the City has managed these declines in revenue by not filling personnel positions that were vacated due to retirements, freezing wages, cutting health care expenses, and by trimming other expenses, particularly within the General Fund, which includes Public Safety and Parks and Recreation. Personnel costs comprise approximately 60% of all General Fund expenses. Consequently, compared to other City funds that are supported by property tax revenues or user fees, and which can financially contract primarily through a reduction in capital expenditures, cutbacks within the General Fund have a disproportionate impact on personnel.
Other ongoing cost cutting measures include evaluating alternative approaches for service delivery and actively pursuing outside sources of funding to help supplement capital and operational expenditures. Many of these measures are visible within the 2014 Annual Budget, but staff will also continue to seek cost saving measures and productivity enhancements in a systematic manner throughout 2014.
However, it is important to note that the City has also deferred many needed capital maintenance and replacement items including the replacement of roofs, fire trucks and park facilities. This capital maintenance cannot be put off indefinitely without impacting existing service levels within the community. A discussion of the City's long-term finances and revenue options is needed if the City desires to maintain the current level of services within the community.
Despite these long-term fiscal challenges, the City's General Fund balance, a key indicator of the City's current financial health, has stabilized. The total General Fund balance declined from $3,327,972 in 2006 to $1,867,599 at the end of 2010. Over that same time period, unrestricted General Fund cash reserves have decreased from $2,774,735 to $1,078,035. However, the General Fund is anticipated to end 2013 with a $2.185M unrestricted cash balance. At the close of 2013, total General Fund cash balances will constitute 28% of 2014 proposed annual expenditures within the General Fund, up from 24% in 2012.
In 2014, no increases will be recommended in property tax millages, which currently total 13.8318 mills. Instead, the 2014 budget continues expenditure reductions implemented in recent years that are designed to reduce expenses while minimizing the impact these reductions may have on the community.
My sincere thanks to our City's Department Heads: Director of Parks and Recreation Allen Hansen; Director of Public Works Michael Robbins; Director of Public Safety John Calabrese; and their staffs; as well as City Planner Amy Tweeten, for their efforts in preparing the proposed 2014 Annual Budget. Special thanks are also owed to Director of Finance Alan Terry, who was instrumental in composing this document for your consideration, as well as Administrative Assistant Sarah Bek.
Dan RalleyCity Manager
The City of Petoskey has been named one of America's Best Small Towns in 2013 by Smithsonian Magazine. As part of Smithsonian's annual ranking of smaller communities, Petoskey was chosen as one of the best cities in America to visite because of its rich cultural arts community and history.
"Petoskey (named after chief Ignatius Petosega) is charm central, graced by concerts, vintage architecture, art galleries and Friday night festivities that attract folks to the petunia basket-draped downtown Gaslight Shopping District. Jesperson’s Restaurant has been serving local sour cherry pie since 1903 and the doors are still open at bay-front Stafford’s Perry Hotel, which catered to summer people in the Victorian heyday. The Little Traverse History Museum has taken over the old rail depot, and a United Methodist Church built in 1890 is now home to the Crooked Arts Center, with pottery and painting studios, films, dance and music recitals."
Smithsonian Magazine bases its rankings on statistics from the geographic information company Esri which searched communities with populations of less than 15,000 that have "exceptional concentrations of museums, art galleries, orchestras, theaters, historic sites and other cultural blessings."
The full article can be found by clicking the link here: Smithsonian Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013
The City of Petoskey is excited to offer you a fast and easy way to securely receive and pay your utility bill electronically.
You can make a quick one-time payment or register to access all the benefits of online billing, including:
View current and past billing statements
Pay by credit card or electronic check
Link multiple bills to one username to view all your bills from one place
Schedule future payments or enroll in auto-pay
Receive friendly email reminders when a bill is ready to be viewed and paid
And, you can even access your account from your smartphone or tablet through our mobile friendly site!
How It Works
Registering for Online Account Access
1. Click the “Access Your Bill” button at the top of this screen.
2. On the next page, select, “Enroll Now”.
3. Follow the steps on the Enrollment Screen to create a username and password and then input your Enrollment Token and Account Number found on your bill.
4. Once you complete this form, you will immediately receive an email from us to confirm your interest in our online billing program. Click on the link in the email to complete the enrollment process.
5. Upon clicking the link in the confirmation email, you will be brought to our sign-in screen. Enter your username and password to access your account.
What You Should Know About Online Account AccessRegistration There is no cost to sign-up for online billing and you can update your account preferences (such as paper and electronic billing delivery options) or cancel at any time. Payment and Processing Fees There is no charge for payments made via your checking or savings account. A convenience fee will be assessed for each credit card payment that is processed online. Fees are percentage-based or flat-rate charges based on the type of card you use, the payment amount, and bill type. This fee is charged by the electronic payment processor transacting the funds and no portion of the fee goes to the City of Petoskey. This charge will appear separately from the payment amount for the bill on your bank or credit card statement and is non-refundable.
If you require assistance or have any questions regarding online billing with the City of Petoskey contact us at (231) 347-2500 or email us. Access your account online
Below are some frequently asked questions that will help you better understand this service. Frequently Asked Questions
How does it work? How much does it cost?Will my paper bill still be mailed to me?Can I cancel after I sign up?Can I pay my bill online?Is my credit card and bank account information safe?How will I know when I have a new bill?Will my bill look the same online?Can I easily print and save my bill?Can I cancel a payment?How can I view my earlier bills?What is Auto-Pay?
How does it work? This service provides you with an easy way to review and/or pay your bill online. Instead of receiving your bill via the U.S. Mail, we will send you an email notification when your bill is available online. Simply click the above, sign in enroll in online billing, and you are ready to view and pay your bill. If you would rather continue to receive your bill in the mail, you can choose the One Time Payment option that lets you make a payment without seeing the bill online.
How much does it cost? Enrolling in online billing is free. In fact, you will save the cost of the stamp and you will save the hassle of writing out a check. The only cost you will incur is any applicable convenience fee which is assessed with each payment based on the card type, payment amount, and bill type.
Will my paper bill still be mailed to me? You have the option of selecting to “Turn Off Paper Statements.” If you do this, you can easily print out your statements from your online account should you still be interested in storing paper statements at home.
Can I cancel after I sign up? You may cancel at any time and your paper bill will be mailed to you the next billing cycle. This change can be made online thru the e-billing system or by calling the City of Petoskey at 231.347.2500.
Can I pay my bill online? Yes. This service enables you to pay your bill online. You can easily pay your bill with a major credit card or your checking account.
Is my credit card and bank account information safe? We protect your information with the highest level of encryption available. You can be assured that your information is safe. The website is PCI Level 1 Compliant and SAS 70 Type II Certified. They are the most stringent certifications to ensure your data is secure.
How will I know when I have a new bill? You will receive a notification via email that a new bill is available.
Will my bill look the same online? Your online bill will be an exact replica of the bill you are used to getting in the mail.
Can I easily print and save my bill? We use the industry standard PDF format for storing and displaying your bill which makes it very easy to print or save your bill to your computer. Click here to get the free Acrobat® Reader® .
Can I cancel a payment? Scheduled payments can be canceled prior to processing. To view all scheduled payments, click on the History tab within the online billing portal. To cancel a payment, simply click the Cancel link to the right of the scheduled payment.
How can I view my earlier bills? You can view your past bills from the History tab. Select the billing cycle from which you want to view your bills and click View. It will open a new window with the PDF version of the bill. On some versions, you can simply just click the View link on the left of the History to open up your bills.
What is Auto-Pay? Auto-Pay (automatic payments) allows you to set a dollar threshold from which it will automatically pay your bill if it is below the threshold you have defined. Once you set the auto-pay threshold, you can rest at ease knowing that your bills will be paid on time if it's below the threshold.