WOODS CROSS — Woods Cross City officials expect little significant revenue increases in 2015, as the economy seems to remain flat.
With that in mind, the fiscal year 2014-15 proposed budget is about $500,000 lower than the 2013-14 budget that included the cost of constructing the now completed Mountain View Park. That park accounted for $366,000 of the half million dollars.
The Woods Cross City Council approved it’s tentative FY 2014-15 budget last week for $4.5 million, down from $5 million last year, according to Woods Cross City Manager, Gary Uresk.
While things don’t look completely rosy for the city, it has no debt, Uresk said.
“The city has been very wise in its purchasing and spending policies” and has incurred no debt upon the general fund, instead choosing a pay-as-you go approach. The city also plans no debt in the near future.
In addition to the decrease in the Parks Fund, another big chunk of the reduction in spending in next year’s budget is found in the Streets Department budget, where nearly $172,000 was cut. About $34.000 was cut from salaries and wages there, with lesser amounts taken from a number of other Streets Department funds.
In his budget message to the mayor and city council, Uresk said the city is still trying to make up for ground lost due to the economic downturn in 2009 and 2010.
In a city that relies on sales tax revenue for much of its operation, the economic downturn of the past decade “created a financial hardship for the city,” in 2010. While sales tax revenue began to rise a little again in 2011, that revenue was still below that of the 2007 level, Uresk said By 2012 those revenues showed “considerable improvement,” but leveled off in 2013.
“The city’s heavy reliance on and the volatility of the sales tax makes it difficult for the city to properly fund those activities and projects necessary to adequately meet the needs of its residents,” Uresk wrote in the message.
“The goal of the city is to keep its commercial tax base healthy, ensuring a steady growth in sale tax revenue,” he said.
Two areas of the city that have potential for commercial development are the area near the intersection of 500 South and Redwood Road and the area where Kmrt is located.
“The city is currently working with the property owners in both these areas on commercial development,” Uresk said. “It is anticipated that some commercial development will occur in these areas during the spring of 2015,” he said.
Property taxes increased in Woods Cross in 2012 and again in 2013, with the return of two redevelopment areas to the city. Property tax revenue is again expected to be slightly higher in 2015. However, building permit revenues will be down from 2014, due to the lack of availability of building lots, since no additional residential subdivision lots have been approved, Uresk said.
As in most cities, personnel account for the biggest expenditure the city has, at 55 percent, followed by 38 percent for operations and 7 percent for capital expenses.
Nearly 60 percent of the personnel expenses planned for 2015 is associated with the police department.Thirteen percent is for city administration.