FORT SMITH (TB&P) — The Fort Smith Board of Directors and top city staff are set to begin budget hearings Friday (Nov. 22) to review a budget that proposes more than $125 million in operating budget spending and a general fund budget of $43.185 million, $3.28 million less than estimated realized spending in 2019.
Operating budget revenue and spending has become more critical in recent years thanks to a federal consent decree the city began working on in 2014. The decree, mandated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, requires the city to make an estimated $480 million worth of sewer upgrades over the course of 12 years – through 2026. Funding for consent decree work has come in part from water and sewer bill increases, which are up 167% since 2015. Funding for water and sewer work also comes from bonds supported by sales tax revenue and revenue from wholesale water buyers. Most of that revenue feeds the operating budget.
Also critical is the city’s general fund budget, from which fire, police, parks and other critical city services are supported. Following are some of the top numbers from the budget proposed by City Administrator Carl Geffken.
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