Budget coming to council next week

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Like numbers?

If so, set aside some time Monday, June 2. On that evening there will be not one but two budget hearings.

At 6:45 p.m. Keizer City Councilors will don their Urban Renewal Agency hats to discuss the URA proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

A public budget hearing for the Keizer 2014-15 proposed budget takes place during the regular council meeting at 7.

There are two other hearings that evening during the regular meeting regarding money: a public hearing about assessments totaling $457,782.90 and a hearing on the city’s proposed use of approximately $300,000 in State Revenue Sharing Funds.

At three meetings earlier this month, members of the Keizer Budget Committee – which includes all city councilors – went over the proposed city budget. The total city budget as proposed is $36,534,600. That includes $5,217,300 in capital spending and $4,061,300 in debt service payments.

The tax rate remains at $2.0838 per $1,000 of assessed value, while property tax revenue is expected to increase 2.7 percent in the fiscal year ahead, which starts on July 1. That increase is attributed to a 2 percent rise in assessed values and a .7 percent increase in growth.

Some of the more notable numbers in the proposed budget deal with employees. The proposed budget calls for three new positions, as reported in the May 9 Keizertimes. As discussed in the paper one week later, reshuffling of some numbers has resulted in a proposed additional police officer position starting in January.

For city employees as a whole, salaries and wages are anticipated to increase $500,000 in the fiscal year ahead. In terms of percentages, the increase is 2.5 percent per employee.

The Personnel Services fund is anticipated to increase a total of $900,000. In addition to the increased wages and salaries, that also includes the new positions, retirement, health and welfare benefits.

As proposed, charges for services will increase 6 percent in the new fiscal year. That includes a 4.5 percent water rate increase, a $.43 per ESU (Equivalent Service Unit) storm water rate increase, a $1 bi-monthly increase in the sewer administration fee and a 5 percent sewer rate increase. The rate increases, if approved, would go into effect in January.

Another notable change in the budget involves the Debt Service fund. Payments of principal and interest on debt obligations for the city are proposed to decrease from $9 million this fiscal year to $4 million next year. A large part of that decrease is due to the $3.7 million principal payment on the Keizer Station Local Improvement District (LID) earlier this fiscal year when foreclosure proceeds were applied to LID debt.

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