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Cheney revenues keep growing

Governmental income is projected to approach $15 million in 2020


Last updated 11/7/2019 at 10:36am

CHENEY – Total governmental revenues are slated to continue on an upward trend in the 2020 budget, thanks mostly to construction taking place in the city and surrounding areas.

During two budget presentations at the Oct. 22 City Council meeting, Cheney Finance Director Cindy Niemeier said governmental revenue for 2020 was projected to hit almost $14.82 million, up from $12.83 million projected for 2019. Accordingly, general fund revenues — which pay for police and fire, municipal court, finance, administration and parks and recreation — are slated to increase to just over $8.593 million, up from $8.57 projected for this year.

Some of this increase comes from additional property tax revenue through an increase in assessed valuation. Cheney has averaged 3.63 percent growth yearly in assessed valuation since 2011, but is projected to see a bump of 8.16 percent in 2020 — adding over $48 million and bringing the city’s valuation to $702.615 million, up from $649.592 million in 2019.

“You can look around at the growth around us and you can see where that’s from,” Niemeier said.

Taxes account for 49 percent of the city’s governmental revenues, and Cheney is projecting to take in almost $7.26 million in 2020 through property, sales and utility taxes. Of those three, property and sales taxes account for two-thirds of the amount, with property revenue projected at $2,529,700 and sales tax at $2,225,000.

Most of that sales tax figure stems from general sales taxes on goods and services, which Niemeier projected at $1.6 million for 2020. Niemeier said the city has had a good year for sales taxes, having received $1,312,400 of the projected $1.4 million so far.

Also included are taxes for brokered natural gas, public safety sales, criminal justice sales and lodging sales, all of which are projected to increase in 2020.

“Those numbers all look very achievable and reachable, based on 2019,” Niemeier said.

Utility taxes are projected at just over $2.4 million, up from $2.367 million estimated for 2019, of which, $1,754,000 have been received. Other contributors to governmental revenues are charges for service — levied on other agencies using Cheney’s services — at 21 percent, intergovernmental accounts at 14 percent and beginning fund balance — the amount the city starts with each year in cash — at 9 percent.

So what do Cheney residents get for almost $14.82 million in governmental revenue? About 41 percent pays for police and fire services, budgeted for $3.3 million and $2.114 million respectively in 2020. The street fund accounts for 17 percent — $2.313 million — while the finance department comes in at 12 percent — just over $1.54 percent.

Parks and recreation accounts for 9 percent at $1.162 million, with the rest divvied up between administration, legal services, intergovernmental services, city council, municipal court, building/planning and debt and capital services.

Approximately 23 percent of the full general fund property taxes are dedicated to assisting police and fire services with needs mostly outside of their regular operating budgets. In November 2015, Cheney voters approved a levy lid lift from $2.40 per $1,000 of assessed property value to the legal maximum of $3.10 per $1,000.

The 2020 levy amount is projected at $501,000, up from $466,700 in 2019. Since the first collection in 2016, the levy lid lift has provided an extra $1.7 million in funding to help pay for additional police officers, vehicles and training along with improvements to the city’s fire station and down payment on a new main attack fire engine — which the city put in to service earlier this fall.

The city has spent an average of $400,000 of this funding over the last four years, an amount somewhat skewed by the $669,500 spent in 2019 — of which almost $300,000 went towards the new attack engine. Just over $103,000 is rolled over each year on average, with the exception of this year’s $59,000, and based on projected uses, the city expects to roll over $275,700 in 2020.

John McCallum can be reached at


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