Washington City officials seek public comment on proposed budget

WASHINGTON CITY – A tentative city budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year has been approved by the Washington City Council, with final approval scheduled for June 12. Before the final budget is approved, however, city residents are encouraged to review the budget and give their opinions at a public hearing to be held on May 22.

We would appreciate input from the public,” Councilmember Ron Truman said during a city council meeting May 8.

Economic Outlook

“The 2014 Washington City budget reflects our belief that the economy will continue to grow and strengthen,” Washington City Manager Roger Carter wrote in his introduction to the proposed budget.

He said sales tax has been up by about 9 percent for the last two years, and is projected to grow by 7 percent in the coming year. Property tax revenue is also anticipated to be up 8 percent. This is tied to the projection that around 335 new single-family dwellings will be built within city limits during the next year as well. Combined with other revenue sources, these increases will add approximately $514,000 to the city’s general fund.  In total the proposed general fund stands at $11.9 million, with $11,295 carried over from the previous year.

While the budget maintains an optimistic outlook for the coming year, Carter said parts of the budget have been tightened in order to satisfy residential growth needs which have thus far outpaced commercial growth in the city.

“One of the challenges with how Washington is growing is that we’ve grown with that part of the population that has the greatest demand on our services, which is the residents, but brings the least amount of money versus commercial,” Carter said.

He said commercial has the least demand on city services while also providing the most amount of money to the budget.

“So what we have is a lot of pressures on our services – police, fire, utilities – that have come through the residents, but we haven’t caught up with commercial yet, so that’s tightened the budget, but we’re still up (this year),” Carter said. “We think that we have a very bright future and think commercial will continue to grow on us.”

According to the proposed budget, among its objectives for the coming year are increased efforts towards the city’s economic development “through creation of Tax–Increment–Finance zones, expanding our industrial area, and more aggressively marketing our community as a ‘place to do business.’”

Among the capital investment projects noted in the budget is the construction of a power generation yard and facility, design work for a public safety building, expansion of the city cemetery, and various road, water and trail projects.

The overall proposed budget for 2013-14 for Washington stands at $42.2 million.

Public comment

Washington residents can review the proposed 2013-14 budget online on St. George News or the Washington City website. A hard copy can be found at the Washington City Hall at 111 North 100 East in Washington.

A public hearing on the budget will be held on May 22, at 6 p.m., during the regular city council meeting at the city hall.

The final version of the budget is scheduled to be voted on June 12.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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