Archived Story

Council renews goals

Published 9:43pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Noting that some progress has been made on matters such as reducing electric rates, Washington’s City Council contends there’s still room for improvement.
During its annual planning/goal-setting meeting held Monday, the council renewed previous commitments to improving the city’s fiscal picture, helping create jobs in the city and improving customer service. The council made it clear it will work to reduce electric rates, lessen the annual transfer from the electric fund to the general fund and not use fund-balance money to help balance the general fund in any given fiscal year.
The council was given good news about the 2011-2012 fiscal year that ended June 30.
“You’re ending the fiscal year in the black,” City Manager Josh Kay told the council.
The audit of the city’s 2011-2012 fiscal records will bear that out when it is released to the city within several weeks, Kay said.
In recent years, the council has reduced the amount of money transferred from the electric fund to the general fund, which it plans to continue at a pace of at least $100,000 a year.
The current budget transfers $846,121 from the electric fund to the general fund. The previous budget transferred $973,150 from the electric fund to the general fund. Until about three years ago, that annual transfer was slightly more than $1 million.
The council is on record as being committed to eventually doing away with the transfer from the electric fund to the general fund.
Kay also said the city’s ability to secure a grant to help a local industry “retool” and create new jobs was a coup for the city. That grant was secured in the spring of this year.
A $450,000 grant passing from the state though the City of Washington to Weir Valves and Controls USA is expected to help create 82 new jobs during the next 18 months or so.
Councilman Doug Mercer said the current general fund is looking at more expenses than revenue coming in during the course of the fiscal year. He said expenses could outpace revenues by about $1 million. He cautioned Kay and others to keep a close watch on expenses in light of possible shortfalls in revenues during the rest of the fiscal year.

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