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City of Camden in great financial shape

Posted: June 14, 2012 9:40 a.m.
Updated: June 15, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Financially, the city of Camden is in great shape. Stockpiling citizen tax revenue is neither good for the citizen paying the tax or for the city not investing accordingly. Financial stability is not about how much the city collects, but about how well the monies are used. Without increasing your property taxes, the city has made significant progress by assessing requirements and strategically planning without taxing and spending.

Many consider our past to present planning to be a key factor in our financial strength. Economic development, green space and capital improvements are among the many facets of good city government that have allowed Camden to fair so well. We are very fortunate that during the 2008-forward economic challenges, Camden has continued to move forward.

Since 2008, our unrestricted operating cash days on hand for the general fund have risen from 120 to an estimated 127 for 2012. The Utility Fund days have risen from 50 to about 67. The Utility Fund increase is representative of strategic planning for the new waste water plant. When you look at the Reserve Fund balance, you also see a significant increase in the Utility Fund for the same reason.

For the same period, our local options sales tax has grown about $20,000. In 2008, we had no hospitality tax revenue and that approximate revenue increase is $600,000 annually. During this tough economic period, the city has maintained/increased services and staffing levels.

During the most challenging economic times in the last 70-plus years, our city has continued to improve. That is an absolutely great accomplishment.

• For 2011, 2012, 2013, our city has planned/expended $2.7 million for ​undergrounding utility lines.

• There has been major storm drainage improvements to prevent major flooding ​in the heart of downtown.

• The planning efforts to accommodate and finance a $35 million waste water ​treatment plant is a major ecological advancement.

• A $1.3 million infrastructure investment not only replaced collapsing infrastructure, it ​provided a beautiful new green space.

All of this and more have been accomplished with no decline in operating cash days on hand, no decrease in public services and very steady staffing. These are major economic improvements.

Given the facts that our city is doing financially well proves it is time for us to begin reviewing and updating our plans to ensure we remain on this very solid path. There are many communities that wish they could say the same about their financial state. We are showing everyone how to be successful at strategic planning and managing finances to assure positive outcomes. This a great story to share and one that has become the Camden routine in the past three years.

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