WASHINGTON CITY – With the adoption of a preliminary $55.4 million city budget by the City Council Wednesday, Washington City residents have the opportunity to review where their tax dollars are going and give voice to how and where they feel the money is best spent.
“We hope to get some input on this,” Councilman Jeff Turek said. “We encourage feedback.”
The proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 highlights a number of expenditures from public safety and capital projects to funding and road projects.
The city’s general fund portion of the budget is anticipated to be $15.8 million, a modest 1.8 percent gain over the previous year’s budget, City Manager Roger Carter said.
“The budget is pretty flat for the most part – just a small increase in sales tax,” Carter said.
With continuing growth, however, revenue from sales and use taxes, which make up a large part of the general fund, is projected to grow by about 3.5 percent in the coming year.
No new taxes are introduced in the budget.
While a slight decline in the housing market is expected to occur in the coming fiscal year, city officials estimate that approximately 375 residential building permits will be issued. This could add up to 1,000 new residents in the city.
Some capital projects of note the city hopes to either fund or continue funding are the reconstruction of the Veterans Park restrooms and pavilion and the construction of a park and trailhead around the Warm Springs pond, also known as the Boilers.
Major work on the Warm Springs project likely won’t begin until the fall, Carter said. A concept for a public park surrounding the spring has been on the city’s master plan since the late 1990s, he said.
Funding for the continuing work at the Green Springs power substation, as well as for an upgrade to the Buena Vista distribution line, is also anticipated.
Road projects the budget seeks to fund include a traffic signal at Merrill Road and 3090 South, an environmental impact study for an interchange in the area of milepost 11 on Interstate 15 and general road maintenance.
Water projects include the construction of the Red Cliffs 2-million-gallon water tank and a Merrill Road waterline.
“All capital projects have funds identified and/or in place for their completion,” Carter wrote in a letter to the City Council providing an overview of the proposed budget.
The budget’s capital projects fund is anticipated to be $4.1 million.
It is also proposed that the base pay for 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.
City officials are anticipating health care premium costs to increase by up to 5 percent in the coming year.
A majority of next year’s proposed budget is wrapped up in its enterprise funds (also called proprietary funds) at $32.1 million.
This facet of the budget funds city departments that can be thought of as being run in a businesslike manner; examples are the water and power departments.
Other funds include RAP tax revenue (taxes generated countywide to benefit recreation, arts and parks), debt service and other special funds that make up the remainder of the proposed budget at around $3.4 million.
The proposed $55.4 million budget is available for pubic review online at the Washington City website and in the resources section at the end of this article.
Physical copies of the budget are located at the Washington City Offices, 111 N. 100 East, and the Washington City branch of the Washington County Library, 220 N. 300 East.
A public hearing concerning the proposed budget will be held during a Washington City Council set for June 14.
Funding amounts in the budget are subject to change based on public input and additional review.
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