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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
May 9, 2012     The New Era Paper
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May 9, 2012

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I F T ra - May 9, 2012 VOuR COMMUNITV Page 9. City budget 14% lower, with loss of 3.5 positions By Sean C. Morgan Of The New Era The city of Sweet Home Bud- get Committee unanimously ap- proved the 2012-13 budget as pro- posed by staff on Thursday, May 3. The proposed budget moves next to the City Council for adop- tion prior to the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1. The total budget is $22 million, down $3.7 million from $25.7 milZ lion last year, a reduction of about 14 percent. Expenditures are down 15 percent, from $20.2 million to $17 million. Non-expenditure funds, approximately $5 million, include interfund transfers, unap- propriated ending fund balances and contingency funds. Overall, the budget includes a cut of 3.5 full-time equivalent posi- tions, including a Building Division clerical assistant, a police officer, a dispatcher and a half-time library assistant. All positions were elimi- nated or unfilled during the current fiscal year, 2011-12, and are being eliminated completely in the pro- posed budget. The approved budget includes a 3-percent wage increase for police personnel. General city employ- ees and employees not represented by unions, including department heads, will advance to a new 3-per- cent step based on an evaluation. Voting to approve the budget were Craig Fentiman, Marybeth Angulo, Mike Hall, Scott McKee Jr., Greg Mahler, Andrew Allen, Chuck Begley, Bruce Hobbs, Greg Kern, Gerritt Schaffer and Dave Trask. Absent during the vote were Jim Oourley, ROD-. Rlgers and Stephanie Boccardo. The committee met May 1 through May 3 to discuss the bud-" get. Following are summaries of different funds: General Fund The General Fund decreases from $3.224 million to $2.965 mil- lion, reflecting a decrease in carry- over. The beginning fund balance decreases from a budgeted $1.3 million to $928,000. Most other resources remain relatively unchanged, with property taxes accounting for approximately $467,000, down by a little more than $1,000. Building permit rev- enue will decrease from a budgeted $60,000 to a proposed $52,000. State liquor tax sharing increases by nearly $10,000 to $118,000. Municipal Court revenue is expected to grow by about $50,000 this year to $250,000. Finance Di- rector Pat Gray said that while the number of citations issued by the Sweet Home Police Department has decreased by more than half since 2009-11 when the court had actual revenues of $250,000 per year, the courts are charging fees when people don't pay; keeping fines for possession of controlled substanc- es, which were being turned over to the state; and collecting more on delinquencies. The General Fund also in- cludes some $124,000 in grant funds, mostly for improvements at Hobart Park, including a board- walk. Last year, the city had $5,000 in grants in the General Fund. The last of the Police Depart- ment construction bonds was paid off last year, and transfers in and out of remaining funds from the General Obligation Bond Fund to the General Fund and then to the Police Levy Fund decreased from $75,000 to $7,252. On the expenditure side, legis- lative, executive, finance, court and non-departmental spending change slightly. Parks spending increases from $113,000 to $121,000, reflecting the salaries the city now pays its park caretakers. The city recently settled part of a lawsuit related to how the caretakers are paid. In the past, the city allowed caretakers to live at Sankey and Northside parks in exchange for taking care of the facilities. That arrangement is no !anger allowed under Oregon law, and the city has had to begin pay- ing the caretakers, who now pay rent. Capital outlays are reduced to $6,000 from $12,500, meaning fewer improvements in the parks next fiscal year. The building division budget is $178,000, down from $222,000, reflecting the reduction of a clerical position that was unfilled during the current fiscal year and eliminated in the approved budget. Community services pro- grams were reduced from $39,000 to $11,100. Last year, the Budget Committee allocated money to sev- eral community charities through the General Fund. That spending was not repeated in the approved budget. The $11,000 includes $1,i00 to the Meals on Wheels pro- gram, which the cityhas tradition- ally funded, and $10,000 in grant funds that pass through to the Se- nior Center's Dial-A-Bus program. The approved General Fund transfers $7,252 out to the Police Levy; Fund.but includes no addi- tional transfers. The city had been transferring funds annually to the building reserve fund, used for new buildings, such as the Police De- partment a decade ago and a new City Hall in the future. The funds may be used to offset requests for general obligation bond levies from city voters for construction proj- ects. Last year, the Budget Com- mittee reduced this transfer to pay for 6ommunity service programs. The city further reduced it, instead transferring the funds to the police and library levies after learning that compression, caused by limitations on property taxes, was higher than anticipated. Police Levy Fund The Police Levy Fund will. begin the fiscal year with '$I mil- -lion carried over from 2011-12. Last year, it started with a budgeted $824,000. The city transferred some $572,000 into the fund from the General Fund and saved some $200,000 from layoffs and savings. Without the transfer and savings, the police fund likely ended with no carryover. As it stands, the de- partment will end the 2012-13 fiscal year with $296,000 to carry into the 2013-14 budget. Barririg additional action, city officials are projecting that the fund will be in fihe red the following fiscal year. Property tax compression, caused by property tax limitations and decreasing property values, has spiked in the past two years, which means revenues from the local op- tion levy have decreased. The Po- lice Levy Fund will receive $1.378 million in property taxes in 2012- 13, down from an actual amount $1.748 million in property taxes in 2010-11 and $1.852 million in 2009-10. Reductions in spending include the reduction of a police officer and dispatcher, while spending for ma- terials and services is reduced by about $105,000 to $231,000: Overall, the Police Levy Fund is reduced from $2.63 million to $2.49 million. In 2009-10, the bud- get was $3.7 million. The 2010-11 budget, $3.54 million, included the final payment, $548,000, on gen- eral obligation bonds used to con- struct the Police Department. Library Levy Fund Like the Police LeVY Fund, the General Fund bolstered the Library Levy Fund last fall with a transfer of $60,000 to offset an unexpected revenue shortfall caused by prop- erty tax compression. With the reduction of a library assistant and spending on books last fall, the library levy has managed to save $124,449 to start the fiscal year 201213, up from $24,550. The Library Levy Fund will collect $176,600 in property taxes, down from a budgeted $227,000 in 2011-12 and up from an actual $169,300 in 2010-11. Spending is at $145,800 for personnel services in the ap- proved 2012-13 budget, down from $175,500 in the 2011-12 budget. Other spending remains about the sanle. The library will finish the fis- cal year 2012-13 with $96,000 to carryover into the 2013-14 fiscal year. Building Reserve Fund Some $45,000 will be spent on roofing projects from the $1 mil- lion. Bnildin Reserve Fund. The projects include roof and ballast replacement at the library, $25,000, and roof replacement at the Jim Riggs Community Center. The Community Center roof is under warranty, which will cover part of the costs. Public Works - Streets Among Public Works funds, the Street Maintenance Fund increases from $653,000 to $696,000. The Street Maintenance Im- provements Fund increases from $1.3 million to $1.7 million, re- flecting a carryover of $1.4 million from the 2011-12 fiscal year. The fund will end the 2012-13 fiscal year with $1.3 million. Spending includes $223,000 in striping and street projects, up from $130,000. The $160,000 Path Program in- cludes $160,000 in ADA improve- ments and a new sidewalk and bike lane on the west side of Mountain View Road between Elm Street and Ames Creek Bridge. Public Works - Water The water systems develop- ment charge capital fund features $150,000 in waterline expansion projects and $55,000 to help con- struct a new water filling station. The budget increases to $256,000 from $110,000. The fund will have a carryover of $245,000, while it was budgeted to end the 2011-12 fiscal year with no carryover. The water capital construction fund is budgeted at $111,000, up from $75,000, includes $30,000 in waterline projects and $75,000 to- ward construction of a new water filling station, held over from this year, 2011-12. The fund will re- ceive no money from water rates in 2012-13. The Water Depreciation Fund, at $663,000, up from $528,000, in- eludes $50,000 to demolish the old Water Treatment Plant on Ninth Avenue in addition to waterline re- placement projects and regular re- pair and replacement projects. The Water Fund, which covers the treatment plant and distribution system, is decreasing from $2.1 million to $2 million. The budget includes no increase in water rates for 2012-13. Public Works - Wastewater The Wastewater Deprecia- tion Fund includes $4.65 million in repair and replacement projects, down from $7.55 million. Proj- ects are primarily funded through low-interest and no-interest loans from the state and paid for through wastewater rates. The projects are supposed to reduce inflow and infiltration, which is water that leaks into the sewer system through cracks in deteriorated pipes and cross con- nections to storm drains. During heavy rainstorms, I&I flow into the sewer system can overload the Wastewater Treatment Plant, forc- ing the plant to bypass untreated wastewater into the South San'tiara River. The city is operating under an agreement with the Department of Environmental Quality to reduce I&I. The Wastewater Fund, which covers the treatment plant and col- lection system, decreases from $2.7 million to $2.4 million. It includes an increase in wastewater rates for 2012-13. Taulnya Daiteg, L.flc. 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