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by Richard Uhlhorn
In one of the longest City Council meetings in recent history, the Council held two public hearings, listened to three administrative reports and voted on four motion considerations. The meeting began at 6 p.m. and didn’t end until nearly 10 p.m. Tuesday night, November 27.
Finance Director Steve Thornton gave a 2019 budget briefing to the City Council at its Tuesday, November 27 Council meeting and told the Council that if anything in the proposed budget was giving them heartburn to speak up.
A Public Hearing was held on the 2019 Proposed Budget to provide an opportunity for public input. The budget briefing was delivered by new Finance Director Steve Thornton who began is briefing by telling the Council, “If there is something giving you heartburn, let’s hear it!”
The City has arrived at the preliminary 2019 budget after six workshops. The $15,778,885 budget covers the following proposed expenditure and revenue sources; the General Fund – $4,881,965, Parks and Recreation – $2,880594, Street Fund – $1,229,584, Sewer – $1,985128, Water – $2,057,452, Sanitation Services -$1,489,668, and Equipment and Replacement – $1,254500.
Significant change to this budget includes an additional $120,00 to the Affordable Housing Initiative and $45,072 in increased costs for the Sheriff’s Department and Prosecuting Attorney.
Revenue sources include an additional $273,000 in Sales Taxes which is based on a three year average of plus 3 percent. An additional $44,240 in Property Taxes based on the Council’s passage of a 1% Property Tax increase and annexation plus growth. Utility taxes will add another $31,500 and the Building and Planning Department will add another $42,750 based on a three year average.
The City expects to receive +/- $378,420 in 2% Stadium Fund money and $567,630 in 3% Lodging Taxes in 2019.
The 2% funds will be used to advertise the Golf Course ($10,000), cover $138,066 in debt service, Recreational Capital Expenditures of $201,000 (incudes two new volleyball courts and pump track), and $70,000 for Maintenance at the Parks.
The 3% funds are budgeted at $567,630 for marketing Chelan and $54,000 for bathrooms at the parks.
Increases in Parks and Recreation revenues are expected to reach an additional $111,750 in 2019. Increases will come from parking, the RV Park and Golf Course.
Erin McCardle is not happy with the Chelan Municipal Golf Course losses last year and asked about the 2 percent Stadium Funds being used to advertise the facility.
Erin McCardle asked about the money from 2% funds being paid to advertise the Golf Course and why it wasn’t listed as a golf course expenditure. Ty Witt asked if 2% money was being used for anything else other than the Golf Course. Cheryl Grant (former City Finance Director) replied that there were no more requests for 2% funding.
Ty Witt asked if anyone else in the Parks and Recreation Department requested 2 percent monies.
Tim Hollingsworth asked if it was right to advertise with 2 percent funds.
Tim Hollingsworth asked if it was right to advertise with these funds. Grant replied that the intention was to get people over to Chelan to golf. Ray Dobbs called the plan a great marketing tool. Mayor Cooney told McCardle that the item would be moved to reflect it was for golf course use.
Kelly Allen said she would like to see a plan for maintaining City Streets.
The rest of the proposed budget covered standard city services. Kelly Allen remarked that she would like to see a plan for replacing or maintaining City Streets. Mayor Cooney replied that there is a six-year plan in place that details the streets to be resurfaced or maintains. City Administrator Mike Jackson also stated that there has been discussions about a street restoration plan. “The big thing is that we don’t lose our road beds,” said Jackson. “That’s when it gets expensive. Our roads are in pretty good shape.”
City Administrator Mike Jackson told the Council that the City streets are in good shape but said there have been discussions with the Public Works Department about a restoration plan.
The Council will be adopting the budget at its December 27 Council meeting.
The first public hearing on Tuesday concerned a Development Standard revision for use of private roads for Agricultural Tourism .
Planning Director Craig Gildroy presented a revision to the City’s development standards to include private road use for ag-tourism.
The revision of the Development Standards came about because of a request by Blue Water Terrace which is becoming a working farm above Legacy Ridge on the north side of Lake Chelan. The revision requires that the road be built to the City’s Public Road Standards, but would remain private and maintained by the property owner. “We are not taking responsibility of that road,” asked Councilwoman Kelly Allen? Planning Director Craig Gildroy replied that it would be the owner’s responsibility to maintain the road.
There were no public comments and the Council unanimously approved the revisions and instructed the City Attorney to prepare the adopting ordinance.