Council OKs budget
Published 8:03 pm Monday, June 18, 2012
Washington’s City Council unanimously adopted the city’s 2012-2013 on Monday.
The budget approval came during a brief council meeting. The budget, which takes effect July 1, does not raise fees for water, sewer, stormwater and trash-collection services.
“Mr. Mayor, I think my opinions were expressed last week, and I’m still somewhat amazed that we have a $65 million budget and that we could only find $13,000 worth of reductions in that big a budget in our discussions,” said Councilman Doug Mercer. “During our discussions, we indicated that there were a number of activities that we felt needed to be made, one of those related to the user-fee schedule. We indicated that we really didn’t have time to discuss it at the point in time and that we would appoint a committee to look at the user fees. I would like to request that the mayor be prepared to appoint the committee that’s to review the fees at next weeks scheduled meeting.”
Mayor Archie Jennings replied, “OK. Fair enough.”
Jennings continued: “One thing I will add, and this has been said before, again I take the councilman’s comments constructively. I will note, though, just for clarification in the broader context of the discussion, that the staff did a wonderful job here in delivering a budget that already included a more-than-$1 million reduction in the general fund. So, we started headed down a million dollars in the general fund, and we added to that to some degree. I think the council and the staff are to be commended in delivering another viable and beneficial-to-the-community budget in tough times.”
The $62.2 million budget keeps the city’s property-tax rate at 50 cents per $100,000 valuation, meaning the property tax on a $100,000 house would remain at $500 in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. The budget allocating 1.44 cents of that 50 cents per $100 valuation to the city’s capital reserve fund for public-safety facilities and major equipment purchases.
The budget also reduces Washington Electric Utilities’ residential rates by 1 percent.
The budget transfers $846,121 from the electric fund to the general fund. The current 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 current council is on record as being committed to eventually doing away with the transfer from the electric fund to the general fund.