City Council gets proposed budget April 7Published 3:06pm Saturday, March 29, 2014
Washington’s City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. April 7 to receive the proposed budget for the upcoming 2014-2015 fiscal-year budget.
City Manager Brian Alligood will present the budget, which was put together will input from the council and assistance from the city’s department heads. The city must have a budget in place by June 30. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
The council began preliminary work on the upcoming budget in January.
Reducing the transfer of revenue from the city’s electric fund to its general fund remains a top priority for the council, if the city can afford to continue to do that, according to several council members.
In a meeting in January, Councilman Doug Mercer proposed to reduce that transfer to $250,000 in the 2014-2015 budget.
In recent budget years, the council continued to decrease the amount of money the city transfers from the electric fund to the general fund. During those years, the council has cut that annual transfer from about $1.1 million to $470,000, the transfer amount in the existing budget. The council’s goal is to eliminate that annual transfer.
Mercer, as he does regularly at the beginning of a budget-developing process, came up with a list of budget-related items for the council to consider. Among them are several suggestions to make the city more fiscally sound, he said.
Mercer said he would like to “minimize” transfers from the city’s fund balance (rainy-day fund) to all of the city’s cost centers. Mercer also wants to make sure the city’s fees and rates are adequate so they provide enough revenue to “cover our continuation budget.” If those rates are not where they need to be, he said, the city must adjust those rates to increase revenue or cut expenditures.
“We cannot continue to live off the fund balance,” Mercer said. “Eventually, it’s going to go away. It’s just like your personal savings account. You can take out so much every month, but, eventually, it goes away.”
After receiving the proposed budget April 7, council members will hold several budget work sessions to modify the budget before it’s adopted, likely in late May or June.