By Beka Compton
The Times 

Waitsburg City Council finalizes 2021 budget

 

December 24, 2020



WAITSBURG—The Waitsburg City Council met on December 16 for a regular meeting. The board discussed an inter-fund loan and reviewed budget amendments. The Council also held the final public hearing for the 2021 City Budget.

At the November 2020 meeting, the City Council discussed a potential second round of business grants to use the remaining amount of the CARES Act funding the city received. Due to time constraints, it was decided to use the money for infrastructure purposes, focusing on water lines.

“The money was used to cover water line installation costs associated with the bid alternative project (Taggart to Dewitt) due to the City being negatively impacted by the pandemic to where we had a revenue shortfall associated with utilities that would have paid for the alternatives costs,” City Administrator Randy Hinchliffe said. “It turned out that the timeline to spend the money wasn’t going to work for the second round of grants due and would have only covered one months’ worth of expenses for the ones that had already applied. So rather than send money back to the state, I was able to work with our grant manager to find a way to use the funding towards the waterline project to upgrade critical public health infrastructure, such as providing access to running water for individuals and families in rural areas to allow them to maintain proper hygiene and defend themselves against the virus.”


The council was presented with Resolution 2020-711, authorizing an inter-fund loan. The loan, which would not exceed $100,000, was proposed to be pulled from the Cemetery Maintenance and Improvement Fund. The loan would cover expenses related to flood repair. The city is scheduled to receive funds from FEMA, however, that schedule has been delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The loan, if approved, would be paid back once the money from FEMA is received and would be active starting January 1, 2021. Hinchliffe noted that the FEMA funds are not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ at this point, but he anticipates the money will be received in the early months of 2021. The Resolution states that the loan shall be paid back in six-month installments, starting June 30, 2021. The loan would garner a .159% interest rate and must be paid back by December 31, 2023. The council voted to approve Resolution 2020-711.

The council reviewed Ordinance 2019-1059, amending the 2020 budget that was approved in December 2019, to account for unseen expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendments included changes to the Current Expense Fund, Municipality Capital Improvement Fund, and the Water and Sewer Fund. A complete overview of the budget amendment can be found on the city’s website.


The City of Waitsburg presented the 2021 Final Budget during the final public hearing. Projects being considered include implementing a water reservoir dechlorination system, potential water, and sewer system upgrades, infrastructure improvement along the city’s levee, widening E. 7th Street between Coppei Ave to Main Street, and widening W. 5th Street between Main to Arnold Lane.

The City anticipates $331,000 from tax revenue, $13,500 in licenses and permits revenue, $374,650 in intergovernmental revenue, $15,000 in services charges (cardboard collection, cemetery fees, swimming pool revenue), and $16,225 in miscellaneous revenue. Total revenue for 2021 estimated at $750,375

Liabilities include $842,726 in continuing governmental obligations to be financed by the city’s Street and Road Fund in 2021.

The Millrace Grade Crossing Project, which has been discussed over the past year, will cost roughly $680,000. The grading project aims to make Millrace Road safer for traffic and will help prepare the area to accommodate the Touchet Valley Trail, should that project happen.

A complete overview of the 2021 Budget, including public employee salaries and expected expenses, is accessible on the city’s website, http://www.cityofwaitsburg.org.

The council reviewed and approved the third payment for the Sidewalk Improvement project, totaling $85,501.99, paid to Nelson Construction Corp., of Walla Walla.

 

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