Bentonville City Council approves next year’s budget; city expects to operate on nearly $60 million in 2023

Bentonville plans for 14.7% increase

A sign is posted at Bentonville City Hall at 305 S.W. A St. in this Dec. 29, 2020 file photo. At the time, the city was preparing to move City Hall from its location near the Bentonville Square to the Southwest A Street location. (NWA Democrat-Gazette file photo)

BENTONVILLE -- The Bentonville City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the 2023 budget.

There is a strong focus on personnel and technology in the budget to meet the needs and quality standards of a growing city, Mayor Stephanie Orman said in a letter that kicked off the budget discussion.

The vote to approve was 8-0.

The city expects $66.8 million in revenue in 2023 -- up 14.7% from what was budgeted for this year. The city expects to spend about $59.5 million -- including $31.7 million in salaries and wages -- on operations and maintenance, an increase of 11.7% from what was budgeted for 2022.

Capital expenditures in the general fund total $17.1 million, according to budget documents.

Overall, the general fund budget shows a projected net of $356,159.

The general fund covers administration, accounting, district court, planning, engineering, the airport, police and fire, public works maintenance, parks and recreation, the library and animal services, according to budget documents.

Some budget highlights, which include department operations and maintenance, include:

• A Police Department budget of $15.9 million, up 9.2% over this year.

• A Fire Department budget of $16.1 million, up 12.1% over this year. The Fire Department and the Building Inspection Department are combined in the 2023 budget.

• A Parks and Recreation budget of $10.5 million, up 13.2% over this year.

• A 6% merit raise for city employees. In comparison, Benton County approved a 5% pay increase for employees during its budget approval last week made up of a 2% cost of living increase and a 3% merit raise with an overall cap at 7%.

The budget shows more than 30 position additions or upgrades, with most coming from police and fire operations.

"The guiding principles of public safety, fiscal sustainability, quality of life and economic vitality continue to guide budget recommendations," Orman said. "The city remains financially sound and pragmatic in our mission to serve our citizens as we carry on a reputation of being a good steward of our community's tax dollars."

Budget development was a collaborative effort with detailed input from every department and city leadership, Orman said.

In other action Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved:

• A $75,000 budget adjustment for Police Department fuel based on increased costs this year. The amount will cover the remaining fuel expenses for November and December.

• A $6.4 million contract with APAC Central for construction of Water Tower Road and Eighth Street extension phase two.

• A $59,500 agreement with O.R. Colan Associates, LLC for property acquisition services for Northwest Ninth and D streets.

• A $45,000 agreement with Volkert Inc. for property acquisition services for city sidewalk improvements.

• An $8,500 budget adjustment to cover public notification (newspaper publication) expenses for the rest of the year.

• The 2023 pay plan.

• Changes to section 8.7 of the city personnel policy manual.

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Meadors honored

The Bentonville City Council on Tuesday night adopted a resolution to recognize Sgt. Michael Meadors on his retirement from the Police Department, effective Oct. 31. Meadors has more than 20 years of law enforcement service including 12 years with Bentonville.

Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette