FY13 budget continues downward trend

NKAPC’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 is built on a number of growing trends related to both revenues and expenditures for the organization. Those trends were highlighted for city and county elected officials last month during the discussion that led to them approving it.

According to Dennis Gordon, FAICP, NKAPC’s executive director, the organization’s new fiscal year budget “is the result of the most inclusive budget process we’ve ever had.” Gordon cited nine public meetings of elected and appointed officials to substantiate his assertion. In the end, all agreed that the budget had been thoroughly vetted.

Among the many trends illustrated for elected officials was an overall decrease in the budget’s bottom line. “This new fiscal year budget approximates the bottom line of our Fiscal Year 2005-2006 budget,” said Gordon. “It also represents well over a $1 million decrease in the organization’s budget since our Fiscal Year 2007-2008 high.”  Click to view Chart: Budget

Of that total decrease, close to half of it came from tax revenues which have also trended downward since 2009. Gordon attributed that fact to local elected officials’ action to control tax revenues, explaining that the 2012-2013 budget is the third consecutive year that city and county elected officials have trimmed the total tax dollars that fund NKAPC.  Click to view Chart: Taxes
Both non-discretionary and discretionary expenditures are trending downward as well. The organization’s new fiscal year budget represents over half a million dollars in cuts to non-discretionary line items since the Fiscal Year 2007-2008 high. Cuts to discretionary line items represent over $1 million since the Fiscal Year 2009-2010 high.  Click to view Chart: Non-descretionary Spending, Click to view Chart: Descretionary Spending
The new fiscal year budget shows an equally-dramatic downward trend in NKAPC employment. Where the Fiscal Year 2006-2007 budget provided for 52 staff members, the new budget funds 36. According to Gordon, “that puts us approximately where we were in Fiscal Year 2002-2003—a close to 31 percent drop since our high six years ago.” Click to view Chart: Staffing Levels

Among other downward trends illustrated in NKAPC’s new fiscal year budget is the amount spent on employee healthcare coverage.

“It would be easy to assume that the downward trend in our healthcare costs was driven by our declining employment numbers,” Gordon says. “That’s not entirely the case. We hit our employment high in Fiscal Year 2006-2007 and our insurance coverage cost high in Fiscal Year 2009-2010 when we employed seven less people.”

Gordon asserts this trend is directly attributable to an internal committee of staff members that works with administrators to keep costs down. “This group holds one of the most thankless jobs of any of our internal staff committees,” he said. “These members do their homework every year and provide a real benefit when it comes to making decisions on how to keep health costs under control.” Click to view Chart: Health Care Costs

The executive director points to the obvious when asked to what these downward trends can be attributed.

“It’s no secret that NKAPC has been under an intense microscope for the past 13 or 14 months. While it hasn’t always been enjoyable, it’s been useful in a number of ways,” he suggests. “There’s no question we’re a better organization as a result of having been under that microscope.”

“It would be a great disservice, however, to conclude that the downward trends illustrated in this new budget are totally attributable to the recent and intense review. Make no mistake; it’s had an impact in a number of areas. But, to assign all the credit to those who’ve been part of this review process would overlook the fact that each of these trends began well before last year.”

NKAPC is overseen by a group of seven individuals who meet regularly to assure that direction provided by the community’s elected officials is being followed. The organization’s budget and the tax rate that funds a majority of it are reviewed and approved annually by these elected officials as required by law.

NKAPC provides professional staff support to the Kenton County Planning Commission. It also supports a majority of the county’s 20 local jurisdictions as their planning, engineering, and building staff. And, it serves as managing partner and provides the central hub and staffing for the multi-county LINK-GIS partnerships.