Price City Council discusses budgets

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Similar to many councils and entities right now, Price City Council discussed budget-related topics at its meeting last week.

At the beginning, council members discussed the possible adoption of the Municipal Corporation of Price’s certified tax rate for 2022. Lisa Richens explained that the Carbon County Clerk/Auditor sets the tax rate. The city will receive at least as much revenue as last year, plus growth. There are no plans to raise taxes in the coming year.

The rate set by the County Clerk/Auditor is 0.00413 and the value of the proposed tax rate has increased, which is the reason for the decrease. Due to this change, the budgeted revenue for the coming year is nearly $31,000,000.

With this in mind, a public hearing has been opened to receive comments on the year-end budget revision for the 2021-22 financial year. Richens explained that this revision aims to see what the budget will look like at the end of the year and adjust anything that may have happened.

Touching on the various funds, Richens said the general fund had actually shrunk by over $600,000. Revenues and taxes increased by $67,000 while licenses and permits increased by $15,000. Richens said that as interest rates rise, there will be an increase in interest. However, the biggest decrease is the transfer of the electrical fund to balance the electrical and general funds.

There was also approximately $129,000 of ZAP tax that was unused and will be transferred to the next fiscal year. Richens then shared that what really hit home this year was the cost of heating the pool. In one year, the city has seen more than $40,000 in increases for heating. Richens explained that in the past he had remained stable.

Price City Mayor Mike Kourianos said natural gas, pump gas and electricity are a huge cost to Price City, but are necessary services, just like the swimming pool is necessary. “We have to provide it and support it,” the mayor said.

Next, a public hearing was held for the transfer of the enterprise fund, which was a proposed transfer from the electric fund to the general fund. Richens explained that the final budget transfer from electricity to the general fund is $1,828,140 and she explained the reasoning behind this transfer with a presentation.

For this hearing, a few citizens were present and asked interested questions about the purpose and function of the transfer. City officials said it was a nice change to have citizens present and interested. Richens described historical transfers for these two funds, which have never exceeded 34%. This year, he is sitting at a transfer amount of 24%.

Next, the board held a public hearing for the draft budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The budget is $30,425,573. Of this amount, $47.4 million is for salaries and benefits, $5.1 million for capital projects and $17.9 million for operations and maintenance. One of the projects included in next year’s budget is spending about $800,000 in county road tax, which is restricted funding for roads, curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The city saved these funds in order to carry out a major road resurfacing project in about 25 city blocks.

Miles Nelson explained that this process is similar to a chip seal but has an extra layer on top that seals it. This was completed a few years ago on 4th East and it was stated that while it takes time to save money, the roads should be sealed.

“There are a lot of little things that we try to balance and get done, and our crews are rising to the occasion,” Mayor Kourianos said.

All budget revisions, transfers and the 2022-23 budget have been approved by the board.

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