WASHINGTON CITY – A preliminary budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year was adopted for review by the Washington City Council Wednesday night.
Council members will review the budget and recommend possible refinements, while the public will have a chance to chime in at a council meeting on May 11.
Final adoption of the budget is slated for June.
It is anticipated that the city’s general fund will be $15.8 million, a 5.52 percent increase over last year’s budget, Washington City Manager Carter said as he addressed the council.
The largest area of projected revenue increases is related to Class C road funds the city receives from the state which are generated from the statewide gas tax that was passed by the Legislature last year. The funds are applied to the maintenance of streets and general transportation infrastructure.
There is no recommended property tax increase in the pending budget.
A slowdown in the housing market was observed over the last year and city officials aren’t expected to issue as many residential building permits for the coming year. Fiscal year 2015-16 is expected to end with around 400 residential building permits issued, with 362 projected for 2016-17.
Despite the slowdown, city officials still expect to see strong growth, Carter said.
Some capital projects of note the city is looking to fund include: reconstruction of the Veterans Park restrooms and pavilion and construction of the Green Springs power substation and transmission lines.
Road projects include work on Merrill Road, a traffic signal on 3090 South; funding an environmental impact study for a proposed highway interchange at mile 11 of Interstate 15; placing a median on a segment of Telegraph Street and general road maintenance.
Water projects include the construction of the Red Cliffs 2 million gallon water tank.
The city is also looking to purchase a new pumper fire engine via a lease program for the Fire Department. Projected funds dedicated to Public Safety in the budget, police and fire combined, account for up to $4.5 million of the general fund.
It is also proposed that the base-rate for the wages of full-time city employees be adjusted by 1.25 percent. The city is also looking to fund a number of full-time and part-time positions in the coming year.
Though there was no increase during the last year, city officials are anticipating healthcare premium costs to increase up to 7.5 percent in the coming year.
Included on the budget is the city’s RAP tax projected allocation of $380,000.
The overall budget for the 2016-17 year is anticipated to be around $48.3 million. The general fund is expected to be $15.8 million; enterprise funds (also called proprietary funds) adding up to approximately $24 million; capital funds are slated at $5 million, with debt service, RAP tax revenue and other specials funds rounding out to around $3.4 million.
Carter said the general fund is primarily funded through sales taxes and property taxes, and is comprised of city departments that are not business-like in nature.
On the other hand, proprietary, or enterprise funds, come from city departments that can be thought of as being run in a business-like manner.
“They don’t have the same rules as a governmental fund,” Carter said. “So (the Water Department) runs like a business, the (Sewage Department) runs like a business… Those rely upon the user fees, or the impact fees.”
Other funds include capital projects funds, the RAP tax, and debt service and other special funds.
A public hearing for the budget is set for May 11, with final adoption by the City Council June 8.
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