While the impact of the coronavirus on the local economy isn’t fully known yet, Tremonton officials moved forward last week with approving a city budget for the upcoming fiscal year that includes money for a full-time fire chief and another police officer, among other expenses.
As required by state law, after holding all necessary public hearings, the Tremonton City Council last week approved its final budget for fiscal year 2021 (beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021).
The total budget of $12.5 million is 30% lower than the previous year’s $17.9 million, with most of the difference coming from the fact that the city has largely completed its wastewater treatment plant upgrade, and also won’t be spending nearly as much this year on the citywide secondary water system.
The budget for the city’s general fund, which covers day-to-day operations, is down 1%, or $89,000, to $5.96 million.
The approved budget “represents what is reasonably anticipated for revenues and expenses; however, many variables can affect the budget during the upcoming fiscal year,” according to city documents. The budget also sets spending maximums for various funds and accounts held by the city.
The city is anticipating a 13% drop in sales tax revenue in the next fiscal year to due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which would mean a decline of nearly $228,000. Sales tax revenue has been a steadily growing source of revenue for Tremonton in recent years and was tracking at a 5% percent increase before the pandemic; however, the city is now projecting a decline similar to what it saw during the Great Recession from 2008 to 1010.
The budget includes nearly $100,000 for a new full-time police officer, but the city expects federal grant funding to cover 75% of that expense for the next three years. It also includes nearly $100,000 to hire a full-time fire chief, who will also function as the city’s emergency manager. The city has been paying about $20,000 annually for an emergency manager position, so the funding for that will help offset the cost of the fire chief position.
Also contributing to a 43% increase in the city’s fire and emergency services fund is a $200,000 expense for new self-contained breathing units and $175,000 for a new ambulance.
The new budget does not include any projects for road reconstruction or chip seal of roads because of the ongoing construction of secondary water, which requires cutting into residential roads to install the new water pipes.
Cost-of-living and merit raises for city employees will total nearly $84,000 for the upcoming year, while increases in health insurance premiums will come in at just under $70,000.
The city’s redevelopment agency budget of $518,000 includes $250,000 to reimburse a developer for improvements at the downtown Tremont Center project area, $200,000 for low-income housing projects, and $30,000 for a new mural to be painted downtown.