Nearly $100 million, Washington City adopts largest budget to date

ST. GEORGE — Washington City’s largest budget to date was unanimously approved by the City Council last Wednesday. As with last year’s budget, this year features a bevy of capital projects aimed at helping accommodate the city’s growing population.

In this file photo, work being done on an incoming park at for Washington City, Utah, Feb. 18, 2020 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The city’s 2021-22 budget runs nearly $100 million, which is $19 million over last year’s budget. As reported earlier this month, officials gave credit to the budget’s increase to the city’s continuing growth.

Washington City Manager Jeremy Redd had previously said that the reason for the budget increase is the growth of the city.

“The biggest reason for the jump in the budget is the increased growth we’re seeing,” Redd said. “The largest increase is in capital projects to fund growth.”

The overall portion of the budget for capital projects is $37.5 million. This covers projects ranging from leisure services to roads, water and power.

Particular projects that residents may take notice of in the coming include the building of the Canal Trail ($ 3 million), the expansion of the city’s dog park ($300,000), work on 3560 South and its connection to the Southern Parkway ($2.8 million), the widening of Buena Vista Boulevard ($1.5 million), the installation of new medians on Telegraph Street ($500,000) and a new traffic light on Washington Fields Road ($400,000), among various other projects.

A 2017 file photo for illustrative purposes only of Telegraph Street in Washington City, Utah, Aug. 10, 2017 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George, News

Water projects of note that the city is perusing include the continuing development of wells in the Grapevine area ($2 million) and the Long Valley water tank ($2.7 million).

The coming year’s capital projects, part of an overall five-year plan, are primarily funded by impact fees from new construction, Washington City finance director Brian Brown said. The city is required to use those fees within five years of collecting them.

The city’s general budget, which is largely used to fund city services such as public safety, parks and recreation, land development and city administration, is projected to be around $25.6 million. Over half of the general fund goes to the city’s public safety services.

A large contributor to the revenue found in the general fund comes from the sales and property tax the city collects. The adopted budget is projected to see a 5.7% and 4.8% increase in sales and property taxes respectively over last year.

A breakdown of the proposed 2021-22 Washington City Budget prior to $6 million being shaved off by the City Council. | Graphic courtesy of Washington City, St. George News | Click to enlarge

Prior to voting on approving the budget, Council member Kress Staheli noted that the capital projects fund and general fund only made up a part of the overall budget, which totals $97,810,000.

“About a quarter of it is the general fund, but I think its important to remember that as a city, in addition to the capital projects, we’re also running water, sewer and power and storm drain – each of those operations are a big component of our overall budget,” he said.

The remainder of the budget is made up of the city’s enterprise funds, which are sometimes referred to as proprietary funds. These funds are dedicated to city departments that can be thought of as being run in a businesslike manner, such as water, power and other departments Staheli mentioned.

“It’s the nuts and bolts of the our city – the operations what makes a city a city,” Staheli said, adding that with the budget, the city is “keeping up with our needs, and not necessary our wants.”

Other city funds accounted for in the city budget include special revenue, debt services and internal services.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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