Archived Story

Council gets peek at budget draft

Published 1:05am Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Washington property owners and residents would see no increases in the city’s property-tax rate or electric, water and sewer rates, according to a working draft of budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

The preliminary budget more than meets City Council’s goal of reducing the annual transfer from the electric fund to the general fund.

“If you remember, at the very beginning, you all said the goal was to get the electric-fund transfer to $700,000. We are currently budgeting $470,000. So, we heard your challenge and we met it, and kudos to the staff for doing that,” City Manager Josh Kay said in his presentation on the working draft to the City Council on Monday. “Electric-fund transfer is now $470,000. That’s a decrease of $376,000 from our current budget that we’re in right now.”

The working draft sets the city’s general-fund budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year at $14.79 million, a 0.2 percent decrease over the current $14.83 million budget and a 2.1 percent increase over the original 2012-2013 budget of $14.49 million.

The working draft estimates property taxes will generate $4.28 million in revenue for the city in the next fiscal year. To help balance the proposed budget, the working draft calls for taking $186,200 from the general fund’s fund balance (or rainy-day fund).

The working draft indicates the city-owned Warren Field Airport’s fiscal picture is improving somewhat. The working draft shows that the airport fund will receive no transfer of funds from the general fund, but will use $70,675 from its fund balance to balance its proposed budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The city has been working toward reducing fiscal losses at the airport with the hope of making it self-sufficient.

“The airport has a healthy fund balance, and we’re zeroing out the general-fund transfer in the airport currently,” Kay said.

Kay plans to have copies of his proposed 2013-2014 budget to the mayor and council members no later than April 8. A public hearing on the budget has been tentatively set for May 23.

For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, including proposed changes to the city’s business-license fee schedule, see future editions of the Washington Daily News

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