The Philomath Budget Committee approved a $14.7 million operating budget for fiscal year 2020-21 during a meeting Wednesday night in what city officials said represents a 16% decrease to the General Fund and a 50% increase in the Land, Building and Equipment Fund.
Seven members of the City Council, including the mayor, and seven citizen members from the community make up the committee, which had met three times since mid-April through videoconferencing. The budget passed on a 9-2 vote with three members absent.
The City Council will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. June 8 during its regular monthly meeting. After the hearing, councilors will hold their final deliberation and vote to approve or reject the budget.
The city welcomes comments from the public on the budget but they must be received by noon on the day of the meeting through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in the City Hall parking lot drop box. Comments can also be mailed (P.O. Box 400, Philomath, OR 97370) but must be in the hands of the city by the day of the meeting.
For more information on the proposed budget, go online to the city’s website (ci.philomath.or.us) and click on the post under the heading “What’s New.” Within that post, there are links to various budget-related documents.
The city reported that property tax revenue for 2020-21 is estimated to increase 6% over the current year.
“The projected increase is based on new construction that has taken place this year, including Oak Springs Apartments, a large portion of Boulevard Apartments, and several single-family housing subdivisions,” the city stated in a press release.
The General Fund fee was reduced from $10 to $5 per month, with multi-residential customers paying a fee for each dwelling unit.
Expenditures for each of the General Fund departments, other than parks, is down significantly from last year, the city said, which resulted from a combination of the 2019-20 Oregon Public Employees Retirement System side account contributions and reduced PERS rates for the coming fiscal year.
“The PERS side account contributions for 2019-20, including a $250,000 match from the state, generated a total contribution of $1.25 million,” the city said in the release. “This PERS side account contribution is expected to result in savings to the city of $2.2 million over the next 20 years. After the city made the PERS side account contribution, its rates were recalculated, resulting in a 5.04% reduction this year.”
Elsewhere within the budget, the city reported that transfers from the various city funds will be held in reserve in the Land, Building and Equipment Fund. When enough money has been set aside for a specific project, the city finances it through the fund.
Each spring, the City Council identifies equipment and infrastructure needs as well as expected implementation dates and estimated costs within a Capital Improvement Plan.
Construction on the new water treatment plant is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2021, so $3.3 million, anticipated to come from a Business Oregon Infrastructure Finance Authority loan, was budgeted for this year, the city reported.
Additionally, the city said it plans to apply for a $100,000 grant through the Small Cities Allotment program to pay for chip sealing several streets.
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