WASHINGTON CITY – The Washington City Council passed the city budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year in a meeting Wednesday night. The budget, totaling $42.2 million, is based on cautiously optimistic projections of continuing economic rebound and growth over the next 12 months.
Before unanimously passing the budget, Councilman Ron Truman noted the budget did not reflect potential pay increases for city staff in the coming year. Despite this, he expressed his appreciation for the city staff and everything they did to help keep city services running.
Mayor Ken Neilson also noted his gratitude for the city’s workforce; he said that their work tends to go unrecognized much of the time.
Councilman Kress Staheli said raises for city workers may be likely in the future as the economic climate improves. Doing so right now, however, would dip into the city’s savings funds.
However Staheli said, “at some point we could find and we should find a way to (increase wages).”
He also said the city budget was largely put together by City Manager Roger Carter and the various city department heads, though input was taken from the city council.
According to Carter’s in introductory letter in the 2013-14 budget to the city council, it is noted there are no proposed pay increases for the year “as directed by (the) council.”
“One of the priorities we had (for the budget) was to support building and growth,” Staheli said.
It is anticipated that approximately 335 single-family homes will be built in Washington within the coming year. Sales tax is also projected to grow by 7 percent and property tax by 8 percent.
The budget’s general fund is set at $11.9 million, with a capital investment fund of $9.1 million. Additional funds bring the budget to $42.2 million.
Projects the city is looking to invest in within the coming fiscal year include:
- Construction of a power generation yard and facility.
- Design work for a public safety building.
- Telegraph Road, and project and highway maintenance.
- Connection of the Sullivan Park-Hellhole trail and trailhead.
- Expansion of the cemetery.
- Additional projects can be found on the city budget.
Continuing to grow the city’s economic base is also one of the focuses of the city and the budget, Carter said, as the city’s residential base currently outpaces its commercial base. These efforts will include updating the city’s economic development plan and “more aggressively marketing” Washington City as a draw for business and business expansion.
A public hearing on the budget was previously held on May 22, and subsequently closed after no public comment was offered.
Next year’s proposed budget may see changes along with the makeup of the city council; Mayor Neilson and Councilmen Bill Hudson and Thad Seegmiller are up for reelection later this year, all filed declarations of candidacy to run again. New candidates who have filed for the upcoming mayoral race include Truman and Sherrie Lou Reeder. Sara D. Lang, Daylene Mary Ure, Garth E. Nisson and Peato “Pat” L. Ena have all filed to run for city council along with the two incumbents.
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