The Foley council has approved the FY22 budget, one Mayor Ralph Hellmich called “balanced.”

“It’s fiscally conservative yet it is aggressive in many ways,” said Hellmich. “We’re adopting quite a few projects, hiring new personnel because of the growth of the city, and I think in discussions with all of the council we all recognized that the growth of our area demands that we do things to keep up for our quality of life.”

Hellmich said creating the FY22 budget was challenging due to all the uncertainty of 2020 and 2021. He said determining what is normal is extremely difficult when considering the COVID-19 pandemic and expenses and revenues caused by Hurricane Sally. City Administrator Mike Thompson agreed.

“The FY22 budget is both a conservative budget from a revenue perspective, but it’s also an aggressive budget in terms of trying to address our growth needs in our city,” Thompson said. “One thing that we’re doing to try to improve our service level is bringing commercial sanitation inhouse. As the council knows we’ve done that via franchise for years and years, and this budget has us bringing that commercial sanitation work inhouse to be run by our Public Works Department.”

Thompson said when budgeting revenues for FY22, he feels staff has developed a conservative budget, one that actually drops from FY21 by approximately $4.6 million.

“That seems odd in a growing city, but realize two things. First of all in the general fund budget, we’ve moved $2 million of revenue for our residential sanitation out of general fund into a separate sanitation fund,” Thompson said. “Both the commercial that we’re bringing inhouse and the residential sanitation is going to be in its own fund, so when I say we’re down $4.6 million, we’re really only down about $2.6 million because $2 million is that residential sanitation revenue that we’ve moved.”