The fall season means different things to different people.
For cities, it means it’s time to start cracking down on their budgets, an admittedly less festive yearly tradition than the holidays many people celebrate.
Bonney Lake operates on a biennial budget system, and the City Council is currently ironing out the 2017 and 2018 budgets.
The council held a public hearing on the biennial budget during the Oct. 4 meeting, although no residents had signed up to speak.
Further discussions on the budget will continue through the rest of the month and a good portion of November. A public hearing on the ad valorem tax levy is planned to be held Nov. 8 and a final budget hearing anticipated for Nov. 22.
The city hopes to adopt the budget by Dec. 13.
Changes to the budget can happen anytime between now and when the budget is officially adopted, but here are the highlights from the Oct. 4 documents.
The General Fund
The council is asking for a general fund budget of more than $17.5 million in 2017 and $17 million in 2018. This looks like a $1 million increase from last year, but City Administrator Don Morrison said that’s not quite the case.
“The $1 million jump in taxes isn’t real,” he said, saying that expected tax revenue for 2016, which was budgeted in 2014, was given a conservative estimate. “The actual taxes for 2016 will be considerably higher than the original budget estimate (partially due to the council adopting an increase in local utility taxes). I don’t anticipate 2017 tax collections to be much more than 2016 anticipated actuals.”
Nothing out of the norm is expected for the city’s general fund expenditures either.
“I don’t anticipate the general fund ending balance changing much from the previous year, less than $100,000 out of a $16,000,000 budget,” he said. “By the same token, we are not building up the ending balance either.”
Morrison said the city’s ending fund balance for the biennium is expected to be about 14.5 percent of the city’s operation costs, keeping the city within its targeted 10 to 15 percent goal for cash flow needs and unforeseen emergencies.
The city also plans to increase its property taxes by the 1 percent of the previous year’s collections for both 2017 and 2018.
Park Capital Improvement Projects Fund
The city is budgeting approximately $566,000 in revenue to come into the park capital improvement projects fund in 2017 and $678,000 in 2018.
However, “the park CIP has been accumulating funds for the past few years in anticipation of a sizable project,” said Morrison.
That “sizable project” is the Allan Yorke Park renovations, announced by the council on July 19.
“With phase I of the Allan Yorke Park renovation/expansion proposed for next year, most of those accumulated funds will be expended,” said Morrison.
Phase 1 of the park improvements is so far planned to begin in 2017 with ballfield four, the lone baseball field in the northern corner of the park.
The ballfield four improvements are expected to be the most costly project for the next two years – approximately $480,000 in 2017 and more than $1.9 million in 2018.
Work on this ballfield includes flipping the field so the home plate moves from the northeast corner to the southwest corner, installing artificial turf, new benches and dugouts, plus new lighting.
Other 2017 projects for phase 1 include a picnic shelter by the concession stand ($130,000), enclosed small dog and large dog parks close to ballfield four ($100,000) and developing hiking trails in the southern part of the park ($140,000).
Street Capital Improvement Projects Fund
The council is anticipating around $4.8 million in revenue for the street CIP fund in 2017 and around $626,000 in 2018.
The largest street project by far for the next biennium is the planned traffic light installation on the future 204th Avenue East and state Route 410 intersection.
This project is estimated to cost a little more than $3.8 million.
Other projects include the 198th Avenue overlay ($141,000 in 2017), 2014th Avenue improvements ($400,000 in 2017) and chip sealing ($190,000 in 2018).
General Government CIP and Public Works Center CIP funds
For the next biennium, about $4 million in utility funds originally deposited into the general government CIP is being moved to the Public Works Center CIP to help cover the cost of the new Public Works Center building.
The Public Works Center CIP is expected to bring in $6.5 million in revenue in 2017 and $1.5 million in 2018.
All of this revenue is going toward the new Public Works Center, which is expected to cost $3.9 million in 2017 and $19.6 million in 2018.
The Public Works Center CIP is being boosted by the $16 million in bonds the city approved earlier this fall.
Other projects from the General Government CIP include a long-anticipated kitchen hood ($63,000 in 2017) and heat pumps ($37,000 in 2018) for the Senior Center.