BOUNTIFUL -- City leaders have adopted a new fiscal year budget that holds the line on property taxes and fees, and represents a cut in overall costs to the general fund for the fourth consecutive year.
The city council last week voted unanimously to adopt a $78,811,995 budget. The city's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30, and the funding outline includes expenses for the city landfill and the city utility, Bountiful City Light & Power Company.
The utility accounts for $41.4 million of the spending plan, much of it targeted for completion of a power-generating project on 200 West expected to cost approximately $25 million.
The new budget represents the 30th consecutive year city leaders have adopted a budget without increasing property taxes, City Manager Tom Hardy said, adding that Bountiful has the lowest property tax rate of any of the 25 largest cities in the state.
"Residents pay less in Bountiful for city services than they would in any other city," Hardy said in his budget message.
He credited city leaders for avoiding debt and not depending on windfall revenues to fund services.
City leaders approved a $55.4 million budget last year, and Hardy said most of the increase in this coming year's expenditures are related to the power project.
Once the project costs are removed, he said, the spending plan is about 10 percent lower than the current fiscal year plan.
Only one question came up during a public hearing, and that centered around how much the city plans to spend in ice removal for local roads in the coming year.
Approximately $270,000 is in the budget for that service.
Mayor Joe Johnson praised Hardy and city leaders for their work in preparing the spending outline.
"We're really happy with it this year," he said of the budget.
The city needs to be cautious about potential expenses, but Johnson said city leaders have not filled several vacant positions and have taken a conservative approach regarding revenues.
He also said some capital projects haven't been completed as quickly as they might have been in a better economic climate.
The majority of funding in the fiscal plan will come from user fees, which include utility/water/garbage bills, with taxes accounting for only 15 percent of the spending plan.
The budget calls for tax revenues of $12 million, with property taxes making up only 20 percent of that revenue stream.
City leaders estimate $5.1 million in sales tax revenue this year, with an additional $3.26 million in franchise fees.
Another component of the city's revenue stream will be interest. City leaders estimate as much as $322,091 in interest will be earned and added to city coffers this year.
Hardy said city leaders accounted for higher gas prices and rising insurance costs as part of the yearly outline.
He estimates the city will pay $200,000 in additional fuel costs during the fiscal year and estimates the cost of providing health insurance for the city's 310 employees could force premiums up as much as 15 percent.
Johnson said the recent drop in fuel prices has been welcome news to city leaders.
"We're fortunate to be in the position we are and to have the resources we have."