Each year the City Manager presents a proposed budget to the City Council. The fiscal year 2014 proposed budget was presented to the City Council at its regular meeting on Wednesday, April 11, 2013, by City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr. The presentation to the City Council can be viewed below:
The FY2014 proposed budget can be viewed here. Please note this is a large .pdf file. To view a summary of the proposed FY2014 budget, click here: FY2014 Proposed Budget Summary To view the proposed fee schedule for FY2014, click here: FY2014 Proposed Fee Schedule Below is the PowerPoint presentation made to the City Council by City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr., on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The slides can be advanced by clicking on the presentation.
A .pdf version of the presentation can be viewed here. On April 17, 2013, the City Manager presented the City Council with a list of potential budget adjustments as part of a priority based budgeting analysis, at the request of the City Council. The list can be viewed here: FY2014 Potential Budget Adjustments, Priority Based Budgeting
School Department and General Government
On Wednesday, April 17, 2013, the School Department delivered its budget presentation to the City Council during a workshop session. That presentation was followed by a review of the general government portion of the proposed budget by City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr. The workshop session can be viewed here:
Below is the PowerPoint presentation made to the City Council by Superintendent of Schools Jean Briggs Badger and Business Administrator Michael Limanni, on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. The slides can be advanced by clicking on the presentation.
Library, Recreation Department, Police Department, and Dover Fire & Rescue
On Wednesday, May 1, 2013, the Library, Recreation Department, Police Department, and Dover Fire and Rescue made budget presentations to the City Council during a workshop session. The workshop session can be viewed here:
Below is the PowerPoint presentation made to the City Council by Library Director Cathleen Beaudoin, on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. The slides can be advanced by clicking on the presentation.
Below is the PowerPoint presentation made to the City Council by Recreation Director Gary Bannon, on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. The slides can be advanced by clicking on the presentation.
Below is the PowerPoint presentation made to the City Council by Police Chief Anthony Colarusso, Jr., on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. The slides can be advanced by clicking on the presentation.
Fire & Rescue
Below is the PowerPoint presentation made to the City Council by Fire Chief Richard Driscoll, on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. The slides can be advanced by clicking on the presentation.
On Wednesday, May 15, 2013, Community Services Director Douglas Steele II made a budget presentation to the City Council during a workshop session. The workshop session can be viewed here:
Below is the Community Services PowerPoint presentation made to the City Council on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. The slides can be advanced by clicking on the presentation.
Cost-saving efforts produce results
City Manager J. Michael Joyal Jr. recently produced several examples of the the City's ongoing efforts to reduce spending and curb costs. Below is the message sent by the City Manager to the City Council, as well as his continuing list of cost-saving initiatives.
To: The City Council From: City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr.
Subject: Development of Proposed FY2014 Budget
Work is well under way on a proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget that is responsible, practical and affordable for the citizens of the City of Dover. Many factors contribute to the framework of that budget, including current economic conditions, downshifting by the state, and the tax cap. As should be expected, I am working closely with our department heads to assemble a budget that accommodates those factors and is attentive to the needs and expectations of the entire community. As I work with our department heads to prepare a proposed budget to begin your deliberations next month, I feel it is important to share with you the results of prior- and current-year budget initiatives and best practices that have helped reduce costs and improve efficiencies across City services and operations. Over the next few weeks, I will highlight some of these initiatives for you through a series of e-mails. In addition, as I do each year, I’m reaching out the community to help gauge what our citizens value most about City services and municipal government. Dover Dollars is an opportunity for residents to visit City Hall and distribute “Dover Dollars” across five strategic focus areas-- Public Safety, Public Education, Public Infrastructure, Economic Development and Fiscal Stewardship – based on priority. An online survey is also available. I am planning another Budget Revealed session later this month, not only to help inform the public about the budget process, but to gather additional input about the community’s budget priorities. All of this citizen feedback will be shared with you during your budget deliberations and included as part of this year’s priority based budgeting effort. As you have the opportunity over the next few weeks to review many of the cost-saving measures pursued in recent years, you will note that direct cost savings can be identified in most if not all of the measures undertaken. These savings however were not without hardship or sacrifice, both for the service adjustments tolerated by the public and the impacts associated with ever increasing workloads of employees of the City. Ultimately, through the hard work and creativity of our staff and department heads in concert with the difficult decisions made by this and prior City Councils, our community has benefited from millions of dollars in operational savings over the past several years. In tabulating those savings, it is evident that they are not just exclusive to previous years but, in many cases, extend into the upcoming proposed budget and will compound and grow for years to come. J. Michael Joyal, Jr. City Manager
City saves on fuel costs by shopping around
For more than a decade, the City has purchased fuel for its fleet, including fire apparatus and Community Services, from the State of New Hampshire at the state depot at Week’s Crossing. In April 2009, the City’s Purchasing Agent observed that gas and diesel prices at some local stations were lower than the state’s contracted rates. After bidding out for fuel costs, City vehicles were able to purchase fuel at a local station at a reduced cost. Fuel was purchased locally, until the state depot rates dropped. The contract with the State remains in place and allows the City the flexibility to purchase fuel at the lowest rates available. The City Purchasing Agent originally started and continues to monitor prices on a weekly basis and when prices at the local pumps dip below the state depot, City departments are instructed to fuel up at the local station. Because the City is not required to pay state and federal taxes for fuel, the local station arrangement requires some additional work to apply for the tax rebates however this additional administrative expenditure is easily offset by the fuel price differential.
Dover Senior Center consolidation continues to save City money
The Dover Senior Center is a popular spot for community residents over the age of 50. The Senior Center offers a variety of activities for seniors, including exercise, yoga, mystery luncheons, trips and monthly socials. The Dover Senior Center for years was operated as a private organization but was housed on Third Street in a facility owned by the City. In addition to the funding required to maintain the building on Third Street, the Dover Senior Center organization was subsidized with property tax dollars through the City budget at an annual cost of $10,000 per year. When the City began to lay out plans for a community complex at the McConnell Center in the mid to later 2000’s, a decision was made to move the Dover Senior Center to the McConnell Center and shift its operation and management to the Recreation Department in order to expand the availability of programming and access by seniors. The change was controversial at the time yet promised improved facility and programming for seniors. In moving the Senior Center to the renovated space in the McConnell Center, the Third Street building was sold to private entity and placed back on the tax rolls. Today the building functions as a real estate office and has an assessed value of $425,000 generating approximately $11,000/year in new property tax dollars. When the new Dover Senior Center opened at the McConnell Center, it was overseen by the Recreation Department and was initially funded through the property tax supported portion of the City budget. Recreation Department staff have made significant strides in providing a welcoming and comfortable facility with a wide diversity of programs and services for seniors. More recently, the operations of the Dover Senior Center by the City Recreation Department has become self-sufficient and is now funded through a special revenue fund without the need for support from property tax dollars. With this change, the operation of the Dover Senior Center saves the City taxpayers more than $25,000 each year in budgeted expenses and, with the new property tax dollars from the sale of the third street, results in a net savings exceeding $36,000 per year.
Public and School libaries share resources The Public Library and schools have been sharing resources dating back to the inception of the DoverNet initiative in 1995. DoverNet began as a joint City and School initiative to introduce and improve internet access for the community and the utilization of technology and information systems throughout the municipal government, including the schools. The effort was led by a citizen’s task force and was supported by the Dover City Council and School Boards with initial allocations of funding for the purchase and installation of computer systems and networks. Donations of state of the art networking equipment and technical expertise from the then preeminent networking company Cabletron. One of the early projects undertaken under the DoverNet umbrella involved developing and putting in place an automated library system that would jointly service patrons of both the Public Library and Schools. The Public Library and five school libraries continue to share a library automation system and split the maintenance costs of that system. The school libraries rely on the Public Library for system administration tasks and the Public Library benefits by having access to the materials housed in the school libraries. As the system has evolved, more and more electronically accessible information resources have been added providing 24/7 access to library patrons and students. The system has allowed for sharing of materials and elimination of duplicative purchases between the Public and school libraries. During the past year, 1,780 items were loaned from the Public Library to the five schools and 1,311 items were loaned to the public library from the schools. The value of these items, if purchased instead of being loaned, would be over $31,000, thus saving money in both the City and School budgets while making these items available to the public by sharing and combining resources between City and School departments. When the savings from avoiding purchasing two separate and independent library systems for the Public Library and School are taken into account, annual savings in equipment capital and maintenance costs with the purchase of a single unified system easily exceeds an additional $40,000.
Outsourcing of assessing data collection has realized significant savings
In 2008, the City changed how it collects assessing property data. Up until the change, City staff was responsible for the collection of property information for the Tax Assessment Office. In fiscal year 2008, the cost of collection by a City employee would have been $63,848. However, that same year, the City initiated a change to that process and began outsourcing the collection of property data required by the Tax Assessment Office. This was accomplished by including the addition of data collection services in the ongoing bid process for contracted assessing services. The savings were immediate. In fiscal year 2008, with a new contract for assessment services in place, the City's total for data collection was $42,000, a reduction of $23,021, compared to maintaining a specific employee position with wages and benefits. The cost of data collection the following fiscal year was $44,000, a reduction of $23,103. Those savings continue, increasing each year. If the City had maintained the position for data collection that was eliminated in 2008, the salary of that employee in the current fiscal year would have likely been $77,880, inclusive of both wages and benefits. Contracted assessment data collection services in the current fiscal year instead cost $48,500, a savings of $29,380. The accumulated savings since 2008 total $173,783. These savings are the result of adhering to the Tax Assessment Office mission statement of ensuring “equity and fairness in assessments each year... in a cost-effective manner.”
Volunteers provided needed service while contributing to budget savings
Volunteers contribute significantly to the operations of our City government. In addition to the countless hours the elected and appointed officials serving on our City’s boards and commissions contribute each year, the recruiting, training and coordination of many other volunteers by our various departments helps to reduce costs. For example, the annual Dover Pride/Cleanup Day organized by Dover Main Street draws hundreds of people to the downtown to assist Community Services staff with various improvements and maintenance, including landscaping, planting and repairs. This saves our community from having to incur a significant cost for time and labor involved with installing landscaping and making various repairs around the community in early spring. Dover’s Adopt-A-Spot program achieves similar results throughout the year by allowing residents and businesses to spruce up “adopted” locations throughout the City. To accomplish the same work without volunteers would require additional staffing and/or contracted vendors to keep ahead of the many different tasks needing to be accomplished around the City each spring and throughout the summer and fall months. At the Public Library, a group of 10 regular volunteers report to the Library once or twice a week to assist with various programs and projects. Volunteers repair books, attach book covers, stamp materials, index obituaries, help with de-acquisitions and perform online catalog maintenance. The volunteers also scan and index historical documents, aid with book donations and the book sale, tend to the children’s aquarium, help with reshelving, shelf reading and stack straightening. Volunteer tasks are always matched with the volunteer’s interest and abilities and an ever growing list of activities needing to be completed. The Police Department’s Senior Volunteer Program provides an opportunity for retired individuals to contribute their time and expertise to the community. Senior volunteers assist the Police Department in a variety of non-enforcement activities. The program, which began in 1993 and has been recognized as a leading practice, has helped reduce costs thanks to the ongoing commitment and regular attendance by seniors who assist with a variety of tasks, including clerical support, computer data entry, digital document imaging, records management and computer data entry. There are of course many other areas where volunteers contribute to the delivery of services to our community. Countless volunteers are at work in our schools, involved in recreation programs, organizing community events, along with providing support for our less fortunate Whether out and about sprucing up our community’s streetscape and parks, assisting in municipal offices, teaching and mentoring our children or just being good neighbors, volunteers provide tens of thousands of hours of their time in performing specific tasks and activities that would otherwise not be able to be accommodated in our municipal budget. The service volunteers provide in support of our City government operations is only a small subset of the many more hours contributed by volunteers to organizations other than our City government that also provide important and necessary services here in our community. To provide some magnitude to the budget savings contributed by volunteers in completing tasks that are specific to and support our City government operations, a conservative estimate would involve at least 250 volunteers contributing an average of 4 hours per week throughout the year or 52,000 volunteer hours per year. Using the AARP’s $20.85 estimate for the hourly value realized from the efforts of volunteers here in NH, the budgeted savings realized through the efforts of community volunteers is estimated to offset $1,084,200 in budgeted expense each year.
Residents put community first, contributing funds to support services
Residents in recent years have also made significant donations to various City and School programs and services. Through the City’s Community First “Green Envelope” program, residents can and have made voluntary donations based on personal preference, including to the public schools, the Mounted Patrol, the annual 4th of July fireworks display, City parks, the public pools, low-income residents, and land preservation. The envelopes are included in all mailings of utility and tax bills. This program has raised a total of $16,308 to date for purchasing supplies and/or materials offsetting expenses that were not able to be budgeted in the designated service area as selected on the inside flap of the envelope.
Shared resources and responsibilities support budget savings
Wherever possible, City employees routinely share resources and responsibilities, keeping labor costs down and completing work in an efficient manner. For instance, in the Police Department, dispatch personnel now assist with data entry of incident reports and other police records, which was previously handled only by the department’s Records Bureau personnel. Dispatch also assists with parking ticket collections by entering data into an electronic database, instead of printing out motor vehicle records for the parking clerk to generate scofflaw notices. These sharing of responsibilities and associated tasks saves an untold amount of both time and paper while also ensuring the highest levels of productivity by our public safety dispatchers. In the Community Services Department, maintenance personnel from the Facilities and Grounds Division routinely will assist the street and utility personnel with maintenance activities providing both labor and sharing of equipment. Cross training of water and wastewater employees together also ensures that sufficient personnel for either utility are available to respond to routine service calls or emergency situations such as line breaks without the need for overstaffing to address the occasions when these demands will peak. In the City Clerk/Tax Collector’s office the prior consolidation of two supervisory positions and combing of office responsibilities has been possible through cross training of staff members to perform activities in both areas. The consolidation of the City Clerk and Tax Collector positions into a single position resulted in an immediate savings of approximately $75,000 several years earlier. This savings from this change has compounded each year since and today is estimated to have offset $450,000 and likely more of budgetary expense.
Switch to internet phone technology already realizing savings
Beginning in fiscal year 2012, the City and School departments initiated a five-year contract to migrate its traditional phone service to Voice-Over-IP technology, which transmits phone data over network infrastructure. The transition was completed during the current fiscal year. Comparing the average of three months of service before and after the change, the City saved about $650 each month. Based on that figure, it’s projected the switch to VOIP will save the City departments $7,800 annually and $39,000 over the course of the five-year contract. The School department will also realize significant savings. Additional value resulting from the transition includes increased data capacity and speed of electronic data sharing between Community Services and City Hall computer systems. There is also the benefit of extending the use of our existing network infrastructure and elimination of duplicative internal building wiring.
Legal expenses drop significantly due to in-house legal services
In-house legal counsel has saved the City of Dover hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses since 2005. In November of 2005, a new City Attorney position was created and dedicated full time to legal issues pertaining to the City. In previous years, in-house legal services were made available through a full-time Police Department attorney responsible for police prosecution. The Police Department attorney position was eliminated in 2005 and a part-time sworn officer was assigned to handle prosecution responsibilities. Before hiring a dedicated City Attorney, the City spent over $200,000 per year contracting with law firms for outside legal counsel. Since that time, that figure has been reduced significantly whereas the current general fund annual budget for outside legal services is only $50,000. Because the City now has immediate, in-house legal services, legal bills have plummeted, particularly on matters related to telecommunications and land-use. Outside legal counsel is required less frequently and only in specialized fields, such as employment and environmental law. The availability of an in house attorney for legal counsel has also saved our community other, uncalculated expenses, by allowing for immediate and as needed consultation on legal matters, current and constant review of legal issues pertaining to the city, and proactive efforts to head off or limit litigation. It should be noted that Dover’s legal staff – one City Attorney and one paralegal – compares favorably with communities of similar size. Portsmouth, Keene and Concord, for instance, have legal staffs of two attorneys and a corresponding number of support staff.
Promoting Economic Development
Business and industry continue to discover that the City of Dover is a desirable place to call home. As the state’s fastest-growing city, Dover continues as a top destination to work and live. In addition to being named as one of the Top 100 Places to Live by CNN/Money Magazine, the City has also been nationally recognized for its family friendly service offerings and by trade and business journals as a thriving and business-friendly community. Promoting Dover as a business destination is a top priority for the City’s Economic Development Office. Although the office is a staff of one, the efforts of community volunteers, such as the Ambassador Program, help spread the word throughout the region and beyond. In addition, the office of Economic Development publishes 5,000 copies of a free quarterly newspaper – Economic Action of Dover – which highlights the appeal of doing business in Dover. Thanks to the local businesses and volunteers, the cost of that important publication is less than $1,200 per quarter. That production cost is not borne by taxpayers, but instead is funded by advertising. The newspaper is distributed by Economic Development Director and a volunteer, saving the additional cost of distribution. The Economic Action of Dover newspaper and the Ambassador Program help to spread a positive message regarding the economic development activities that exist here in our community. Not only are Dover citizens and business owners kept informed of resources and programs available to support business retention and relocation efforts here in our community but also contacts in distant locations are provided with access to this same information through free positive publicity and word of mouth that comes from these programs.