WOODS CROSS -- City council members passed a $3.6 million tentative budget Tuesday night -- one of the tightest in at least 11 years.
"This year's budget is the tightest I've looked at in the 11 years I've been here," city administrator Gary Uresk told council members.
"If we don't come out of this (economic) slump we're in within the next few years, it will put some things in jeopardy."
General fund expenditures were held to a 4 percent increase -- the bulk of which were attributed to personnel cost increases and the purchase of vehicles.
In his budget message, Uresk said that during the 1990s the city was in a strong fiscal position due to the robust economy and the city's reliance on sales tax. "However, as the economy has slowed over the last couple of years, the city's fiscal position has become more tenuous. To adjust to the slow down in revenues, capital projects have been delayed and purchases of major equipment have been deferred."
Uresk said that with the exception of a spike in sale tax in 2002, due to the Winter Olympics, sales tax revenue has been gong down for a number of years, and the 2004 sales tax collection is not anticipated to exceed 2003's by a significant amount. However, Uresk said, "The goal of the city is to keep it's commercial tax base healthy, ensuring a steady growth in sales tax revenue."
In the past couple of months, council members have had requests for funding in areas they've not funded in the past. One of those, the After School Program at Woods Cross Elementary, struck a particular chord. Without the city stepping in, the program which provides tutoring and care after school, is in danger of being cut, because the Davis School District has cut its funding to the program.
To provide some funding, the council approved a 2 percent cell phone tax to city residents, earmarked for the program.
Woods Cross hasn't imposed such a tax before, but because of a mix-up in zip codes, some of the city's residents are paying the tax and the money is going to West Bountiful.
Uresk told council members he believes the tax will not only benefit the After School Program, but will cause the funds currently being paid by some residents to be funneled back to the city. "I like the idea of the After School Program being funded," said council member Don Moore.
During Tuesday's meeting several department heads made presentations, not only on their budgetary needs, but on the general state of the departments.
Justice Court Judge Robert G. Peters said one of the biggest changes is a $32 security surcharge which will be levied on every violation, except minor, non-moving violations.
Twenty percent of the fee will be collected for cities to be placed in their general funds.The other 80 percent will go to the state and will help sheriffs with jail housing expenses.
Within the city's Police Department, the biggest project has bee developing a reference system, which took the staff six months to put together.
Another major project has been the department's reorganization, which has resulted in every officer having a specialized assignment, Chief Paul Howard shared.
Public works director Scott Anderson said there is a major road project on tap from the Class C road funds this year, a project which will cost about $220,000, twice the $100,000 budgeted.
The council may consider taking funds from surplus to finish the project, or divide it into two years.