Layton may raise monthly fees

May 10 2012 - 12:09am

LAYTON -- City officials have approved for the coming fiscal year a tentative budget that raises water and garbage rates and outlines a slow recovery toward fiscal stability with sales tax revenue.

The city council at a recent meeting unanimously approved a $59.6 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year. The council also set June 21 for a public hearing on the spending outline. The fiscal year begins July 1 and runs to June 30.

The budget calls for a proposed water increase of $2.30 per household per month, as well as a monthly increase of 60 cents per house for trash pickup. Sewer fees are also expected to go up for city users during the new budget year, with a $1 per month per residential connection fee proposed by the North Davis Sewer District.

The city collects the district fees as part of its utility bills, though it does not initiate the fee increase.

The water increase is linked to a move by city officials to buy from Weber Basin Water District some water shares that were part of a negotiated agreement made 10 years ago. City Manager Alex Jensen said the shares will cost about $1 million a year for the next two years. He said the fee will also help fund improvements to the city's water system.

The change in garbage rates comes after the city budget has simply swallowed increased costs in refuse service for the past few years, and the enterprise fund needs more revenue to be self-sustaining, the city manager said.

The budget does not call for any increase in property taxes. The city has not raised property taxes since the 1970s.

Mayor Steve Curtis described the budget as positive and said he is pleased with the way the process has gone.

The biggest single revenue source outlined in the spending guideline is sales tax revenue. The budget projects the city should capture $11.23 million in sales and use tax, in comparison to $10.98 million for the current fiscal year. By contrast, property taxes are expected to generate $6.1 million, and energy taxes are expected to provide an additional $3.5 million in revenue.

Jensen said there will not be any increases in personnel for the coming fiscal year, and there will be no cost-of-living pay adjustments for the city's 289 full-time employees, but small merit increases will be recommended. The budget actually reduces the number of full-time staff for the coming year by one in comparison to the existing budget. One computer specialist position in the finance department has been eliminated.

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