by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim city councilors are considering a 2-percent sewer-rate increase and a 2-percent utility-tax increase on water, sewer and garbage.
For a typical single-family residential ratepayer, the utility tax increases would mean about $1.20 more for sewer per month and 50 cents for garbage every two months.
City Manager Steve Burkett decided to defer a water-rate increase for one year and not increase the property-tax levy the 1-percent allowed by state law.
An anticipated 12-percent revenue increase from sales taxes, utility-tax increases and fund transfers led him not to propose the property-tax levy increase.
Burkett said the sewer increase would help pay for the recently completed $11 million upgrade to the wastewater reclamation system.
City staff said they expect to receive $185,000 from the utility tax bump for the general fund. Sewer rate increases would support sewer operations.
Burkett and councilors said they hope to minimize the impact of increases, particularly for residents with low incomes. Council members are considering a low-income-discount policy for those who qualify.
Filling the gap
The city budget is proposed at about $18.6 million, with councilors looking to approve it Monday, Nov. 22, at Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.
Earlier this year, Burkett projected the city to have a $300,000 revenue gap, but he and staff reduced expenditures by $200,000 and increased revenues by about $100,000.
General fund revenues are expected to be about $7.87 million and city staff intends not to use general fund and street operation reserves. The combined fund balance by the end of 2011 is expected to be about $1.4 million. The net loss the past five years was about $1.1 million.
Some budgeted capital projects include:
City department budget highlights: