Although the city budgeted $31.85 million for 2016, the city’s revised budget was $29.27 million as of Dec. 13. The 2017 budget, as proposed by the finance department, is $31.06 million, a 2.5 percent decrease from last year’s budget, and a roughly 6 percent increase from the revised 2016 budget. That includes the general fund, enterprise funds and intergovernmental funds.
The approved budget did not include new taxes or tax raises, and the city’s mill levy stayed at 1.21 mills per $1,000 of assessed value property. But the council did approve increases in some fees. Refuse collection rates are going up about 5 percent. Residential fees will rise to $20 per month, from $19, starting Jan. 1, and onetime dumpster lock fees will rise to $25, from $20.
“This is to help offset landfill dumping fees, fueling costs mainly, but also to keep the funds so we can purchase our refuse trucks every other year with cash,” public works director Philip Johnson said.
The biggest fee increase came from the public works department, which proposed to increase water rates in 2017 by 15 percent. The base rate for a residential ¾-inch water meter will be bumped from $17.20 to $19.80 per month, and tap fees will go up from $4,190 to $4,819 for ¾-inch water taps. Johnson said the increase will help his department pay for several projects in 2017, including repairs on a major water line that pumps in water from outside the town.
“It’s an investment for our customers in their own infrastructure,” Johnson said.
General fund spendingThe largest spending categories under the general fund are the police department, public works, and parks and recreation.
Police department: About $3.85 million has been budgeted for 2017, down from $3.87 million, a decrease of .52 percent.Public works department: About $1.13 million for 2017, up from $1.1 million, an increase of 2.3 percent.Parks and recreation: About $1.8 million for 2017, up from $1.53 million in 2016, an increase of 17.6 percent.The biggest cut in general fund spending came from general services, which dropped from $3,296,851 in 2016 to $848,947 in 2017, a decrease of 74 percent. The 2016 general service budget included the purchase of the City Hall building at 123 N. Roger Smith Ave., while the 2017 budget will only include repairs and refurbishments to the building.
Overall, the 2017 general fund budget is $12.76 million, down from $14.12 million in 2016, a decrease of 9.6 percent.
Other categoriesUnder enterprise funds, which pay for themselves through charges and fees, water is the biggest spending category for 2017. But the biggest increase in spending comes under the Cortez Community Network fund, which pays for the city’s telephone and internet services.
Water: About $3.48 million has been budgeted for 2017, up from $3.28 million, an increase of 6.2 percent.Refuse: About $1.48 million for 2017, up from $1.31 million last year, an increase of 13 percent.Cortez Community Network: About $2.46 million for 2017, up from $568,501, an increase of 332 percent. The increase is due to the $2 million second phase of the Cortez Fiber Project. With the help of a matching Department of Local Affairs grant, the city will create a secondary fiber path into town to connect the expanded Southwest Memorial Hospital, the new Osprey headquarters and other nearby businesses to the town network, starting in spring of 2017.Overall, the city’s enterprise funds have gone up from $8.89 million allocated last year to $11.19 million this year, a 25 percent increase.
Internal service funds: About $4.26 million has been budgeted for 2017, up from $3.94 million, an increase of 8.7 percent. Special revenue funds: About $3.23 million for 2017, up from $2.29 million, a 40 percent increase. The biggest spending category is street improvement, most of which is allocated for capital projects. All special revenue funds are paid for with sales tax and lottery ticket sales.Street improvement: About $2.1 million for 2017, up from $1.59 million in 2016, an increase of 31 percent.Conservation trust: About $197,000 for 2017, up from $38,000 in 2016, an increase of 417 percent.Equipment fund: About $700,000 for 2017, up from $395,000 in 2016, an increase of 78 percent.Lodgers tax fund: About $220,000 for 2017, down from $265,000 in 2016, a decrease of 15 percent.