Ivins’ budget would use accumulated fees to cover deficit in ‘capital intensive’ year

Four members of the Ivins City Council listen to proposals during the meeting in the City Council chambers, Ivins, Utah, May 16, 2019 | Photo by Ryann Richardson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Ivins City Council approved a tentative 2020 budget Thursday at its monthly meeting.

The general fund budget is $7.2 million, about $60,000 lower than the current budget. The general fund supports city operations, including law enforcement (nearly $2.5 million), general government (slightly over $1 million), streets ($896,259), sanitation ($639,402) and parks ($478,290), among several other areas.

In total, including all funds and fees, the overall budget anticipates revenue of almost $15.4 million and spending of about $17.3 million.

The difference would be covered by a separate savings account made up of accumulated city fees, said City Manager Dale Coulam.

He said the account was compiled using city fees over the years after a consultant advised the city to create it.

Director of Finance Lane Mecham said it is fairly common for a budget to run at a deficit when the year is “capital intensive.”

The overage is mostly due to an increase in capital project expenditures for storm drains, Coulam said. In the city’s master plan, the council plans to build storm drains that will bring in irrigation water to free up culinary water.

The budget will officially be adopted June 6, but it is expected to shift as the day approaches. Mecham said the budget is “fiscally responsible” and “revenues and expenditures are conservative.” The budget covers the fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2020.

Ivins residents will not be facing a property tax increase and there will be a decrease in sales and use tax.

The budget includes an increase in expenditures for employee salaries and wages – about $2.5 million, up from $2 million under the current budget.

The addition of one new employee for both public works and parks and recreation as well as the 4% pool for merit increases are the largest causes for the expenditure increase.

The city also plans to hire a law enforcement victim’s advocate, but a grant will reimburse the expenditure, Mecham said.

The budget includes an increase of over $50,000 for Santa Clara Fire and Rescue, which is a far smaller increase from about $400,000 in 2018 and $700,000 in 2019.

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