Proposed Santa Clara budget up 26 percent from current year

Santa Clara City Hall, Santa Clara, Utah, Sept. 18, 2018 | File photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

SANTA CLARA — The proposed budget for Santa Clara City is increasing by nearly $1.2 million, which is a 26 percent increase from the current year’s budget.

The proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year is $5.65 million. The current-year budget is $4.47 million. The Santa Clara City Council held a public hearing for the budget Wednesday, but no one from the public showed up to share any comments on the budget.

Nearly 45 percent of the revenue for the city comes from taxes, while the rest comes from licenses, permits, fines and other charges.

A fire engine is parked inside the Santa Clara-Ivins Fire station on Rachel Drive in Santa Clara, Utah, Jan. 9, 2017 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Santa Clara-Ivins Fire

The increase was driven by the merger of the Santa Clara and Ivins fire and emergency medical services departments. The revenue for the “intergovernmental” category of the revenue saw a 194 percent increase because of the merger.

“Since we’ve taken over the fire and EMS from Ivins, we’ve seen some large increases and an EMS budget for the first time,” said Brock Jacobsen, assistant city manager and finance director for the city.

Read more: Santa Clara, Ivins fire departments merge to tackle growth, enhance service

The budget for fire and EMS is split, with Santa Clara paying 45 percent and Ivins paying 55 percent, while revenue is split 50/50. The merger helps cover the costs of servicing a growing community, Santa Clara-Ivins Fire Chief Dan Nelson said after the merger.

“We’re experiencing a big influx of people into our community — residents and visitors,” Nelson said. “By adding manpower, we’re able to staff multiple calls at once, and we’re able to staff stations that would otherwise be un-staffed.”

Other funds

Impact fees, which are used for major citywide projects, will see a 178 percent increase under the proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year. Adding up to about $1.1 million, the money from impact fees will go to projects like Gubler Park, the Lava Flow Trail and bridge, remodeling the fire station on Rachel Drive and payment on the city hall bond.

More money is going to the parks and building departments as well. Nearly 40 percent more funds will be going to the building department because of increased personnel costs, according to the budget proposal. The proposed parks budget is also up 32 percent because of the new playground at Canyon View Park.

A graph shows what Santa Clara’s budget is spent on in years past and what it would be spent on for the proposed 2019 fiscal year budget | Photo courtesy of Brock Jacobsen, St. George News (Click to enlarge)

Many other funds are increasing as well, including the Santa Clara water fund and sewer fund. These funds are categorized as enterprise funds, which means they are different from governmental-type funds because they are set up to operate like a private business.

The proposed water fund budget is increasing by 31 percent to about $2.1 million to help replace some of the aging infrastructure.

“We are not recommending any water rate increase to pay for this,” Jacobsen said.

However, the Water Conservancy District is proposing a rate increase of $0.10 per 1,000 gallons, which will bring the price to $1.14 per 1,000 gallons for customers. A public hearing on this increase will be held June 6 at 6 p.m. at the Washington County Water Conservancy District office.

The proposed sewer fund is also increasing by 19 percent to pay for repairing a sewer line between Old Farm Road and Vernon Street and replace aging vehicles.

Santa Clara’s budget for the 2019 fiscal year “will be changing when some fee and expenditures are finalized,” Jacobsen said. The budget is slated to be adopted by the City Council at its June 20 meeting.

The proposed budget can be found here: Santa Clara Fiscal Year 2019 Budget

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Kilroywashere June 2, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    No citizen oversight? I am not surprised. A couple of years back I tried to get a copy of the budget and was told I needed to read the copy located at City Hall. I later came back to do so and was given my own copy. Within 10 minutes I found an error in the budget. Later I confronted the city council about getting a copy of the budget amendment which already existed day’s ahead of time. They too were baffled as to why I could not get a copy as it did exist, and was better than speed reading the overhead projection while the decision was imminent. They asked the city employee about this, who indicated yes there was a copy. I no longer participate in citizen oversight as I felt at that time obfuscation was inherent in the system. However the fact that the current budget increase is primarily for emergency services, I am ok. In June of last year there was a mysterious fire that burned dangerously up to my property. If it wasn’t for my neighbor’s kid next door , and the quick response of the local fire department, my house may have burned down, along with the entire hillside above Santa Clara drive. To this day I do not know the cause of the fire and I was happy to drop off In and Out Burger coupons at the local fire department a week after the event in appreciation of their fine work. What happens in Santa Clara stays in Santa Clara. God bless, and let’s hope no mega firework mortar shells shot from the school yard 100′ away over my house, let alone the neighbors across the street THIS YEAR come Pioneer and 4th of july week celebrations. I am in a fireworks prohibited Zone.

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