City of Owensboro discusses proposed budget, no tax rate increases

May 15, 2024 | 12:13 am

Updated May 15, 2024 | 2:32 am

Graphic by Owensboro Times

The City of Owensboro discussed its proposed $157.8 million budget for 2024-25 on Tuesday afternoon. The budget included no tax rate increases.

“We expect all tax rates to stay the same throughout the fiscal year,” Pagan said.

The budget proposes a 4% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for all employees, totaling $851,840 to employee wages. While they try to maintain competitive wages in surrounding cities, a $609,821 decrease in the city’s pension costs also makes this possible.

This is because they have been completely phased in, according to Pagan.

“If you’ve been around a few years, you know pensions have been a long-term challenge,” Pagan said. “12 years ago, the state gave us a 12% annual increase for our pension costs, that’s fully phased in now. … The sizeable bumps are hopefully a thing of the past.”

There is a proposed almost $2.8 decrease in the general fund for the year as well.

Director of Finance and Services Angela Waninger predicts an increase in revenue from the City’s primary sources: occupational licenses, property taxes, OMU dividend, insurance premium license fees and net profit licenses.

Commissioners will hold the first reading of the budget on May 21. A public hearing and second reading is scheduled for June 4.

A per-department breakdown is as follows:

  • Administration: $1,825,063 (9% increase)
  • Public Events: $1,438,100 (24% increase)
  • Community Development:  $330,658 (4% decrease)
  • Information Technology: $2,799,318 (13% decrease)
  • GIS: $601,000 (3% decrease)
  • Owensboro Fire Department: $16,426,217 (3% increase)
  • Finance: $2,540229 (18% increase)
  • Human Resources: $1,118,849 (4% decrease)
  • Owensboro Police Department: $19,161,477 (2% increase)
  • Central Dispatch: $3,718331 (3% decrease)
  • Parks: $4,966,868 (11% increase)
  • Recreation: $4,376,295 (11% decrease)
  • Engineering: $4,458,730 (11% increase)
  • Street: $2,876,489 (1% increase)
  • Stormwater: $579,822 (3% increase)
  • Property Maintenance: $397,055 (29% decrease)
  • Facility Maintenance: $2,243,769 (29% increase)
  • Facility Maintenance (Grounds): $2,675,681 (6% decrease)
  • Garage: $1,758,496 (6% increase)
  • Sanitation: $8,300,894 (7% decrease)
  • Transit: $3,167,285 (32% decrease)
  • Your Community Vision: $3,419,023
  • Arts Agency Allocation: $1,026,729
  • Social Services Allocation: $549,972
  • Government Services Allocation: $611,899

Public Events:

Public Events are seeing an increase due to the COLA and maintenance costs. Director of Public Works Tim Ross said that instead of Public Works, Public Events covers maintenance for cleaning after events, such as BBQs and Barrels.

There will be 100+ local special events in the fiscal year, including the Wendell Foster Half Marathon 5K, The Dust Bowl and more. The All American 4th of July will return alongside the Owensboro Air Show, Trail of Treats and Christmas Dancing Lights.

Community Development:

Community Development is seeing a 4% decrease in total request funds, largely due to a drop in supplies and miscellaneous expenses. Community Development Director Abby Shelton said that the professional and technical services previously budgeted have been completed, lowering the need for those funds.

Information Technology:

The department is seeing a 13% decrease due to reduced retirement and health insurance expenses. Though maintenance costs have risen to $230,769, they are still budgeting over $400,000 for next year.


The GIS department is seeing a decrease due to lowered staff and completed training that is not needed next fiscal year.

Owensboro Fire Department:

Fire Chief James Howard said this is a modest increase for the year. The increase is primarily driven by the 4% COLA and department equipment. Some capital expenditures are coming ahead, which Howard noted are for funding specific projects and equipment.


The Finance Department is increasing its budget primarily due to increased maintenance and capital purchases. This is driven primarily by IT software and a building purchase.

Human Resources:

Though the City is administering a 4% COLA, Human Resources Director Josh Bachmeier said they are seeing decreases due to anticipated vacancies lowering the needed payroll.

Owensboro Police Department:

OPD is seeing increased capital and maintenance costs due to vehicle maintenance, a radio tower and tornado sirens. The Department also noted that it dropped its supplies costs substantially due to purchases from the last fiscal year.

The department is 3 positions short of fully staffed, according to Police Chief Art Ealum.

“This is the closest we’ve been to being fully staffed in many, many years,” Ealum said.

Central Dispatch:

911 Director Paul Nave said they are seeing the increase predominately due to personnel expenses ($44,175) and materials and maintenance expenses ($124,496).


They are seeing increases across the board. Director Amanda Rogers said that it is due to capital and maintenance expenses, which are largely related to construction costs.


They are seeing an 11% decrease largely due to the transfer of $1.1 million to the Your Community Vision Fund. They are seeing increases in capital, supplies and personnel costs, however.


The 11% increase is found largely due to an increased amount of asphalt they are working on this year. City Engineer Kevin Collignon said that they have ramped up their asphalt program, requiring two crews to work actively to pave the allotted areas.


The Street Department is seeing drops in personnel and supply costs however, they are seeing an increase to $114,948 in capital expenses due to replacing the salt rine system in place.


Despite a 2% drop in personnel costs, they are still seeing an increase in maintenance and capital costs due to vehicle maintenance and replacement.

Property Maintenance:

There is a 29% decrease which is primarily due to a decrease in retirement benefits and rollover funds from last fiscal year.

Facility Maintenance:

There is a 29% increase across the board, primarily driven by the timing of projects and restoration work they are completing at Thompson Berry Soccer Complex.

Facilities Maintenance (Grounds):

Miscellaneous costs primarily drive the 6% decrease due to rollover costs from the prior year.


There is an increase across the board due to personnel increases and material inflation.


There has been a decrease in maintenance and capital expenditures, primarily due to decreases in city garage charges and the purchase of previous equipment.


There have been decreases across the board except for personnel. These decreases are driven by the decreasing need for equipment, rollover funds, and equipment purchases.

May 15, 2024 | 12:13 am

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