November 14, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 30

AH budget remains similar to 2013

Airway Heights is in the middle of another budgeting season, working to create a balanced budget for 2014.

The budget still has a $126,000 gap in the current expense fund, which the city is working to close. Also still hanging in the balance are contract negotiations for public safety guild employees. As a result, cost of living adjustments and medical coverage adjustments aren’t factored in at the moment.

This marked the second public hearing regarding the budget, following the first Oct. 21 to discuss revenue sources. A preliminary budget was submitted Nov. 1, in accordance with city statutes requiring its submission 60 days before the end of the year.

Three of the city’s more active funds: current expense, street and water-sewer, were highlighted in the opening sections of the budget. Two of those, street and water-sewer, are projected to increase by $2,805 and $291,986, respectively. As mentioned above, the current expense fund has a $126,352 gap to fill.

The current expense fund started at $700,000, the street fund at $25,000 and the water-sewer fund at $4.2 million. With that in mind, the city projects to have $5,611,436 in revenues, with $5,737,788 in expenditures.

Projected revenues for the street fund come in at $596,519 and expenses total $593,714. The water-sewer fund estimated resources come in at $4,254,256 with expenses totaling $3,962,270.

Other funds include special revenue, debt service, capital projects, proprietary fund, enterprise and others.

Airway Heights’ preliminary 2014 assessed valuation is sitting at $457,762,823, which is up roughly $10 million from the previous year. Its population is estimated to be 7,935, as of April 1 earlier this year. The city is projecting sales tax revenues at $1.31 million, which has seen an increase since the city made its annexation at the beginning of last year.

In his letter explaining how the budget was formed, City Manager Albert Tripp said the Current Expense and Street funds in the budget are affected by “sluggish economic growth and increases in service activity. That meant a transfer of $125,000 from the Current Expense to Street fund was required.

“This budget maintains the status quo in 2014,” he said at the Nov. 4 City Council meeting.

Tripp also highlighted the importance of a transportation benefit district to repair Airway Heights streets in the upcoming years. While the budget was submitted prior to the Nov. 5 general election, the creation of the benefit district, Airway Heights Proposition 1 on the ballot, was passing 359 to 327 as of Tuesday morning. Its passage could mean a slight tweaking of the budget in the upcoming weeks.

Operation and maintenance expenses are based on those made in 2013, with few changes made to the overall amounts. Debt service interest and the principal are based on planned deb service schedules.

A final public hearing on the budget will take place at the next City Council meeting, Monday, Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m. The second reading of the property tax levy ordinance will also take place at that time. Final action on the proposed budget will happen Monday, Dec. 2.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

Reader Comments

(0)