City council begins annual budget review

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


The Washington City Council began its yearly chore of examining the proposed coming fiscal year budget for approval Tuesday night with an overview of the proposed budget.

City administrator Brent Hinson gave a multimedia presentation of each of the city?s departments, and the funding requests for fiscal year 2019. He said the general fund budget is balanced exactly to keep a general fund balance of $1 million. The property tax levy will remain at $15.82 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. This is the seventh year the city will have the same tax rate. A three percent average salary increase for non-union staff is budgeted in. The net increase in general fund spending is projected to be 3.25 percent.

No personnel changes are projected in the coming fiscal year. Funding is included for a South 15th Street subdivision, South Aveue E paving, the wellness park, fire station, a major inflow and infiltration project and finishing water plant improvements. The general fund is projected to show revenues of $3,812,996 and an equal amount of expenses.


Police Department

The Washington Police Department shows revenues of $22,375, with expenses of $1,537,192. In the askings, health insurance increase amounts to about $25,000 of the increased budget. The department also plans to replace a 2010 Ford Explorer with a new Explorer at a cost of $34,555.


Fire department

Projected revenues for the fire department are $85,000 with expenses at $418,728.

Highlights of the fire department budget include a $10,000 increase in health insurance; $7,000 for physicals; and $5,000 for gear replacement.


Development services

Development Services is estimated to have revenue of $61,500 and expenses of $78,598.


Washington Public Library

The Library revenues are projected to be $85,000 and expenses are $410,879. Expenses have increased about $9,400 from last year. The cost of building maintenance and library materials are reportedly both up. County funding is expected to be down somewhat due to circulation calculations included in the countywide library formula. Washington and Wellman library circulation is down while circulation in Kalona is up.


Washington Parks

Revenues for the Washington Parks Department is estimated at $450 and expenses are $261,382. The budget shows an increase in part-time wages of about $2,000. The payment to the YMCA of Washington County for running the city?s pool is $32,000. The budget also includes $7,000 for the municipal band.


Washington cemeteries

The budget for the cemetery department shows revenues at $70,500 and expenses of $162,225.


Finance, legal and city hall

Revenues are at $3,052,671 and expenses are at $851,594. The city will continue the policy of maintaining $1 million in the fund balance and transferring an additional at year end to the fund for city hall, police and fire building improvements.


Outside entity funding

The city also plans to provide funding to the Washington Economic Development Group of $22,287; PAWS and More of $21,000; Main Street Washington of $20,000; the tourism committee of $20,000; and the July 4 fireworks display, $6,000, which is a $2,000 increase.


Debt service fund

Total debt service payments for the year ate projected at $1,202,347. There are also planned debt issuances of $3,185,000 for sewer, streets and the wellness park, and $1,700,000 for the fire station.


Airport budget

Revenues for the Washington Airport are estimated at $432,400 and expenses are $550,597. The Airport Commission plans to draw down the fund balance significantly in order to construct a new large hangar.


Water Fund budget

Revenues from the water fund are estimated at $1,928,248 and expenses are $1,786,840. The budget assumes a 3.5 percent increase in usage, which would be the lowest increase since 2012. The city expects to start debt payments on the water plant project which is expected to be $267,866 per year for 20 years.


Sewer Fund budget

The sewer fund shows expenses of $2,338,720 and expenses of $2,431,202. It assumes a 3.5 percent increase in usage.


The budget is due to the state on March 15. Hinson said the projects and items that will be included in the budget are based on previous guidance and direction from the council. Other workshops for the council are scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 30 and Feb. 13 in the Washington Public Library.