On November 7, 2016 the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017 was presented to City Council. As required by state law, revenues and expenses proposed in the preliminary 2017 budget are balanced in all funds. The proposed budget was developed in support of the adopted City Council Goals, current and projected service and infrastructure needs and is reflective of current and projected economic conditions impacting the City.
City staff discussed the 2017 Preliminary Budget with the City Council at the November 14 Council Workshop. The Council held a Public Hearing on the budget at the November 21 Regular Meeting to take community input on the proposed budget, and adopted the 2017 Budget at the December 5 Regular Meeting.
2017 Budget Highlights
The budget includes a number of important changes, including:
New Animal Shelter Facility - The 2017 budget includes $600,000 toward the City’s share of a new facility.
Peanuts Park Restoration - Council has continued its emphasis on revitalizing the downtown as a place to visit, shop, and invest. With this in mind, staff is proposing a complete demolition of current features and a brand new park plan put in place for this area. For 2017, $425,000 will provide for design, environmental review and associated public outreach.
Fire Station 84 - This currently unstaffed station was acquired by the City as part of a recent annexation. Located on Road 48 in the Riverview neighborhood, logistically the station is situated, if staffed, to dramatically impact Council’s goal of reducing emergency response times. Budgeted for 2017 are $250,000 improvements to the station to allow for an Ambulance Peak Demand Unit.
City Hall Remodel Phase I - As the Police Department moves to occupy their new facility, they vacate a significant portion of City Hall. In 2016, staff undertook a strategic planning process to evaluate how best to utilize this space in order to maximize efficiencies and improve public access to services. The analysis revealed existing deficiencies in the facility’s air handling system that would be exacerbated resulting in significant costs by extensive remodeling of the building. While such remodeling may be necessary over time, staff is proposing high value but low cost/impact improvements as a first phase, which would involve relocation of Information Systems (IS) and the City Prosecutor’s Office to the vacated police 2nd floor spaces. Relocation of IS frees space for the eventual relocation of permit services to first floor.
Oregon Avenue - This arterial is essential to a quickly expanding and robust commercial and industrial corridor. The project provides much needed pedestrian facilities, improvements and channelization that will improve safety and efficiency within the corridor. It is anticipated that the project will be completed in 2017 with an amount of $6.7 million budgeted, of that amount $4.9 million are the result of competitive grants.
City-wide Traffic Signal Project Phase I - Replacement of the City’s aging traffic signals has been recognized as a priority. For the most part this work includes replacement of 11 controllers, and cabinets along with required ADA improvements at signalized intersections.
In total, 11 full-time employees (FTEs) are to be added to the City for the 2017 budget. The following are the positions approved with the funding source:
5 Firefighters/Paramedics - Ambulance Fund
1 Police Area Resource Officer - General Fund
1 Facilities Worker - General Fund
1 Code Enforcement Officer - General Fund
1 Economic Development Specialist - Economic Development Fund
1 Community Risk Reduction - 50% General Fund, 50% Ambulance Fund
1 Senior Program Manager - Utility Fund
For the major General Fund revenues, the City has experienced positive growth as the overall economy improves:
Property Tax – The City experienced significant gains in new construction with a 58% increase over the previous year. New construction grew from $79,307,800 to $125,549,200 in 2016. Due to the impact of private investment, property owners will see a reduction in their general tax levy rate from $1.937 per $1,000 assessed value in 2016, to $1.907 in 2017.
Sales Tax – Sales tax represents the largest single-source of general fund revenue; however, it is also the most elastic of the fund’s sources. With an improving regional economy and high construction sales tax, the anticipated revenue for 2017 is $11,200,000. This is an increase of 6.7% over fiscal year 2016.
City Manager Dave Zabell summarized the 2017 Budget in his introduction message: “The preliminary budget proposal as presented seeks to satisfy or make significant progress toward the City Council’s adopted Goals for 2016-2017 by providing for the implementation of important policy decisions made by the City Council through the process of prioritization, recognition and implementation of efficiencies. As with the prior year, this proposal attempts to maximize value through the efficient provision of services while minimizing the level of taxes, rates and fees paid by the citizens of Pasco.”