Proposed city budget includes no tax increases
During their July 7 work session, city staff will review the proposed budget for the new fiscal year. The proposed budget include no tax increases and proposes using reserve funds to cover costs for this year in what City Manager Greg Doyon has called an “economic recovery” budget.
The proposed budget doesn’t include new staffing for public safety, other staffing and funds few department requests for additional funds.
Doyon’s recommended budget does not include increases for utility rates or property assessments.
The city is projecting an increase of $425,000 in newly taxable property, but the exact amount won’t be known until the Montana Department of Revenue sends the certified values in August.
The fund balance for the general fund at the end of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, is projected to be 17.2 percent. The recommended minimum policy of the city is 22 percent, which equates to about two months of operating expenses for cash flow needs, maintaining the city’s quality, low-risk credit rating and to address unexpected expenses.
Without increased taxes and before addressing any critical needs, the fund balance is projects to be 14.6 percent at the end of the next fiscal year on June 30, 2021.
According to the staff presentation during a June commission work session, the fund balance has trended downward since Calumet Montana Refining began protesting their taxes in 2017.
The Calumet tax appeal was settled in May and of the $4.6 million worth of city taxes the company protested, the city is receiving about $3 million, or 65.7 percent, according to the city finance office. Of that, $2.8 million will go to the general fund; $139,207 will go to the library fund; and $26,691.40 will go to the soccer park bonds.
During the July 7 meeting, commissioners will be asked to set the budget hearing for July 21 and public hearings for assessments, which are all proposed to have no increase, for Aug. 4. Those include street maintenance, boulevard maintenance, Portage Meadows maintenance, lighting districts and the park district.
The park district assessment is proposed to remain at $1.5 million, as it has for the first two years of its existence.
The $1.5 million worth of projects identified for year three of the park district are:
- Grande Vista Trail replacement: $96,000
- Gibson Park Pond wall: $165,000
- ADA park restroom: $200,000
- Tree replacement: $10,000
- Resurface basketball courts: $75,000
- ADA sidewalks to play structures: $50,000
- Multi Sports dugouts/backstops: $35,000
- Rivers Edge Trail matching funds: $10,000
- Forestry staff/ERS: $171,600
- Irrigation upgrades: $250,000
- Turf maintenance and labor: $143,000
- Professional services and contingency: $294,400