Washington’s budget workshops begin Monday

Published 1:07 am Saturday, April 24, 2021

A public hearing for the City of Washington’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year will be held at approximately 4 p.m. Monday night, following City Council’s first budget workshop session.

The proposed budget can be viewed HERE.

The proposed budget weighs in at $97,366,110.

City Manager Jonathan Russell said the “no frills” proposed budget includes conservative revenue projections and limited expenditures due to uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

City staff is again recommending that City Council consider a property tax rate increase. Washington’s s property tax rate is currently at .53 cents per $100 valuation.

Fee changes in the proposed budget include a $1 increase in the resident curbside fee, bringing it from $16 to $17, as well as an increase in tipping fee charges for commercial solid waste services. Small increases to the city’s stormwater and sewer fees have been proposed as well.

Russell said those proposed adjustments are meant to help the city “keep pace on our operational expenses.”

Russell added that the city is looking to reduce spending on capital projects. One major project expected to move forward this year is the construction of a new $4 million headquarters for the Washington Police Department. That project is partly funded by grants from the Golden LEAF Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and FEMA.

Monday’s budget workshop meeting will begin at 3 p.m. at the Washington Municipal Building.  During the workshop, City Council will review Washington’s continuation budget and expansion budget. The meeting will be adjourned after the 4 p.m. public hearing.

Another meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the same location.  Council will discuss any topics left over from the previous day’s workshop. At 5:30 p.m., City Council will switch gears and consider an amendment to the city’s land use plan. The amendment would change the area now occupied by the Moss East Development from high-density residential to mixed-use. It would also change the maximum allowable residential density for a mixed-use property from seven dwelling units per acre to eight dwelling units per acre.

Attendance at both meetings will be limited due to restrictions regarding indoor gatherings. Masks will be required.