FY2022 budget

FY2022 budget

City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr., presented his proposed fiscal year 2022 budget at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, April 14.

The FY 2022 budget, encompassing all city departments and the Dover School District, provides proposed appropriations of $166,173,251 across all funds. This includes proposed appropriations of $133,834,473 from the general fund, $13,807,584 from special revenue funds, such as grants, and $18,531,194 spending from proprietary funds, such as the sewer and water accounts funded by user fees.

"The proposed budget now before you is directly influenced by identifying and responding to the varied needs and interests of our customers – our community's residents, business and visitors," Joyal said during his budget presentation. "The development of the proposed budget results from a continuous and ongoing review of all municipal function and service priorities."

Joyal's presented budget includes proposed spending of all city departments, including the School Board's "default budget" recommendation for Dover School District's operations. As presented, the proposed FY 2022 budget is a 5.7 percent increase over the current fiscal year's budget, compromised of an 8.4 percent increase of school-related expenses and a 3.4 percent increase of all other non-school related costs.

The School Board passed its "default budget" – the current year's budget with added contractual obligations – on March 8 to comply with existing contractual provisions and to meet the City of Dover Charter deadline to submit a budget. However, the School Board continues to work to find cost reductions and is expected to update its budget in the coming weeks with a goal to deliver a budget within the school's portion of the tax cap formula.

In the proposed FY 2022 budget, the estimated city portion of the local property tax levy is $58,826 below the estimated city portion of the tax cap formula; the estimated local school portion of the property tax levy is $5,243,303 above the estimated school-side of the tax cap formula. With these amounts combined, the proposed budget as presented exceeds the City of Dover Charter's tax cap requirements by $5,184,477. For the City Council to adopt the budget as presented, it would require a two-thirds affirmative vote instead of a majority vote.

For the average residential property in Dover – valued at $314,022 – the estimated property tax would be $8,356, an increase by $553 or 7.1 percent of the current property tax levy. This includes an estimated $53, or 1.9 percent increase on the city property tax portion; an estimated $487 or 11.8 percent increase to the school property tax portion; and an estimated $13 or 1.7 percent increase for the county property tax portion.

A significant budget driver for both the school and city sides is considerable contribution increases into the New Hampshire Retirement System as required by state law. Reductions in health insurance premiums partially offset the contribution rate increase. 

There has been an increase in non-tax revenues on the city-side from what appears to be an improving economy and the direct result from the stimulus funds and financial assistance provided by the federal and state level.

Other FY 2022 budget highlights include: 

  • Maintains existing level core city services
  • Adds a new police officer position funded by a Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant
  • Loss of grant funding for the Police Department's Community Outreach Division eliminates a vacant position
  • Includes a new position in the Community Services Utilities Division to assist needs and obligations for water quality permits
  • Adds a part-time position in the Human Resources Office for separation of duties as recommended by the City of Dover's financial auditors
  • Funds the replacement of a 10-year-old ice resurfacer at the Dover Ice Arena
  • Provides a $200,000 increase for street pavement overlays, keeping the City on track to reach the Capital Improvement Program's recommended level of funding within the next two years
  • Eliminates $80,000 annual planned reoccurring expense for police officer/patrol vehicle cameras for the next six years by utilizing grants in the current budget cycle. 

In the coming weeks, the City Council will hold numerous workshops with department managers to understand budget needs from the managers' perspective. The Council will then deliberate and pass a budget in either May or early June. The fiscal year 2022 budget would begin on July 1, 2021.

The City Council's will hold meeting and workshops — all on Wednesdays — to receive presentations, hold public hearings, deliberate and adopt a final budget. The schedule is as followed: 

  • April 21 at 7 p.m. — Budget review workshop — Presentations by School District, Executive Department 
  • April 28 at 6 p.m. — Budget review workshop — Presentations by Recreation, Library and Welfare departments
  • May 5 at 7 p.m. — Budget review workshop — Presentations by Police and Fire departments
  • May 12 at 7 p.m. — Regular meeting — Public hearing on School District proposed budget
  • May 19 at 7 p.m. — Budget review workshop — Presentation by Community Services Department 
  • May 26 at 7 p.m. — Regular meeting — Public hearing on City budget
  • June 2 at 7 p.m. — Budget review workshop — budget deliberation
  • June 2 immediately following the workshop — Special meeting — FY2022 budget adoption
  • June 9 at 7 p.m. — Regular meeting — Fallback FY2022 budget adoption.

Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Documents

Budget Presentations

The proposed FY2022 budget was first presented to the City Council on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. The presentation by City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr., can be viewed below:

School Budget

The School Board unanimously passed a ‘default budget’ for fiscal year 2022 at its meeting Monday, March 8, but stressed that budget work is ongoing.

The default budget provides $73,075,963 for general fund operating expenses and debt service. It is a $6,264,907 increase over the current 2021 fiscal year budget and $5,168,041 above the tax cap. The School Board budget is due to the City Manager by March 15 to be included in the City Council’s citywide budget this spring.

“This budget represents only our operating budget from last year plus our contractual increases the City Council has already approved,” said Superintendent William Harbron during the  budget workshop  preceding the School Board’s  regular meeting .

Harbron told the School Board that passing the default budget would allow the School Board and School District to reopen negotiations with the Dover Teachers’ Union (DTU) in efforts to find cost reductions to deliver a tax cap budget. 

“The DTU agreed to come to the bargaining table, and our discussions with them are ongoing,” Harbron said during the budget workshop. “We are extremely grateful that they have partnered with us in attempting to deliver a tax cap budget to the citizens of Dover.”

A clause in the  contract agreement  between the Dover School Board and the DTU ratified by the School Board and City Council in 2019 allows the parties to reopen negations for cost items and specific circumstances. The district has to present a default budget to the City Council to activate this clause should the budget be rejected by the City Council.

“Approving the default budget allows the district to continue its discussions with the DTU with the hope that we can come to an agreement prior to the City Council approving the budget in May. If we do come to an agreement, we should be closer to the tax cap,” Harbron said at the workshop.

Harbron said that discussions with the DTU have been positive, and the two sides are scheduled to meet again on March 25.

School Board Chair Amanda Russell reiterated the School Board and School District’s commitment to find cost savings for the 2022 fiscal year budget.

“We are not done with the budget,” she said. Passing the default budget now “is the best decision the Board can make at this time with all of the information we have today.”

The budget workshop  can be viewed here .

The School Board regular meeting  can be viewed here .

The budget and budget documents  can be viewed here .


CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM (CIP)

The Fiscal Year 2022 budget process began on Oct. 7, 2020 when City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr. presented his proposed Capital Improvements Program to the City Council and Planning Board at a joint workshop. The CIP is a six-year infrastructure planning document based on priorities established in Dover’s Master Plan. Projects included in the plan are capital projects and purchases over $25,000 that maintain and improve the community infrastructure and have a useful life of at least three years.

Following the joint workshop, the Planning Board held two meetings and a public hearing on the CIP. The Planning Board's role is to review the CIP to ensure it meets the needs expressed in the Master Plan and provide a recommendation to the City Council. The Planning Board voted to recommend the City Council approve the CIP at its Oct. 27, 2020 meeting. 

The City Council held its CIP public hearing at its Oct. 28, 2020. The Council deliberated the CIP plan and its first year funding at its Nov. 18, 2020 meeting, and then held  three CIP-related votes:

As City Manager Joyal said when he presented the proposed CIP plan at the City Council's Oct. 7, 2020 workshop, adopting the six-year plan "is a statement of intent, but it does not bind [the City Council] to anything. It tells me as your City Manager and anyone else in the City, this is your long-term plan on how things are going to happen in the City for upgrading roads, infrastructure, replacing equipment and so forth. From an operational perspective, it allows us to start making plans or continuing plans for replacing equipment, and perhaps not investing in maintenance in certain things because we know we will replace it in a timely fashion."