Second public hearing on 2024 budget held

SPOKANE VALLEY – On Oct. 10, city council discussed the 2024 budget again and council is scheduled to adopt the budget on Nov. 21, 2023. This was their fifth meeting for budget talks.

Council will have met on eight separate occasions during the talks, including three public hearings to gather input from residents.

The 2024 recurring revenue estimate of $62,316,100 is $5,897,200 or 10.45% greater than the 2023 budget of $56,418,900.

The 2024 recurring expenditure proposal of $57,976,579 is $4,443,939 or 8.30% greater than the 2023 proposed amended appropriation of $53,532,640.

Budgeted recurring revenues currently exceed recurring expenditures by $4,339,521 or 6.96% of recurring revenues.

Nonrecurring revenues include a $325,000 grant to fund the City’s comprehensive plan amendment.

Nonrecurring expenditures total $5,372,423 and include over $152,000 for information technology expenditures.

Some of these expenses include $20,000 to replace copiers, $37,500 for server upgrades, $60,000 for network core hardware replacement and $35,000 for software upgrades.

The police precinct also needs some updates, and the budget includes some funding for new equipment.

$36,000 is needed to purchase a utility task vehicle (UTV) for the Police Department.

These funds are part of the facility needs in the city, and approximately $416,000 will go to facilities.

The city is looking at $10,000 for an access gate at the precinct, and another $75,000 for parking lot repairs. They are also looking at $50,000 for precinct signage, and another $20,000 to replace flooring in the roll call room.

Some of the facilities money will also go into the CenterPlace building.

$100,000 is needed to repair the parking lot there, and an additional $120,000 to replace the walk-in coolers at CenterPlace.

Replacing the boiler modules will cost approximately $15,000 as well.

The biggest potential cost at CenterPlace is $150,000 to replace the banquet chairs in the event center.

The city is also looking at a price tag of $25,000 to install motorized shades in the event center’s great room.

The economy continues to experience volatility. This is particularly seen with continued levels of inflation that have driven up costs across the board.

The city expects continued volatility to continue affecting city revenues and costs moving into next year.

Because of that, there may be some changes as budget talks move forward.

Revenues in the Street O & M fund is impacting the city as well.

The fund is dependent upon motor vehicle fuel tax revenues and telephone utility tax revenues.

Fuel taxes have increased slightly due to recent state legislation; however, they are generally flat or declining in recent years due to improvements in vehicle fuel mileage.

Also, according to the city recent inflation in fuel prices may begin to change driving habits, which could reduce future revenues.

Telephone utility taxes have been declining at an average of 7.64% per year from 2009 through 2022, and this is largely due to the elimination of land lines.

The revenues from this tax reached a high of $3.1 million in 2009 when the tax was introduced, and is currently estimated to generate $900,000 in 2024.

Maintaining the City’s current street network is a high priority.

The trouble Spokane Valley is having here is that balancing service for local access streets and arterials has become increasingly difficult.

Railroad grade separation projects and other large street projects are exceptionally expensive endeavors and are largely beyond the city’s ability to finance through existing sources of revenue.

A couple of the those major projects have been funded, but there is still more work to be done.

The city has been very successful in securing funding for the Barker Rd. grade separation and Pines Rd. project.

Funding is still needed for other grade separation projects as well as other large-scale transportation improvements within Spokane Valley.

On Oct. 24 the city will hold the first reading on an ordinance to adopt the 2024 budget.

On Nov. 21 there will be a third public hearing, and then council will give a vote on the budget.

Author Bio

Matthew Stephens, Reporter

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Matthew graduated from West Virginia University-Parkersburg in 2011 with a journalism degree. He's an award-winning photographer and enjoys writing stories about people.


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