October 13, 2012 in Washington Voices

Millwood faces budget deficit

Valerie Putnam Vrputnam@Yahoo.Com
Coming up

Millwood will host a Department of Ecology waste tire removal event Oct. 26. Old tires will be collected. No rims, metal or garbage are allowed. For more information, contact Millwood City Hall, (509) 924-0960.

An anticipated drop in property tax revenue combined with increases in other services such as health benefits are adding up to the city of Millwood facing a potential budget shortfall for the third consecutive year.

City Treasurer Debbie Matkin presented the preliminary 2013 budget to council during Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting. Matkin told the council that even with all nonessential items cut from the budget, the city still has to overcome deficits in the water, sewer and general funds.

The budget estimates the water fund will have a $30,000 deficit. This deficit takes into account the additional funds from the recent 14 percent rate increase.

Matkin said via an email that the city has gone too long without the necessary rate increases and now it has to play catch up to make up for lost revenues.

Due to an estimated $2,300 deficit in the general fund, two proposed capital projects – resurfacing the tennis courts and an overlay on Bridgeport Avenue – will be paid out of the city’s capital reserves.

In addition, Millwood’s sewer fund is estimated to have a $40,000 deficit.

A public hearing to discuss the budget is planned for November’s regular City Council meeting.

In other city news:

• Council held the first public hearing for the 2013 revenues and property tax levy. Two more hearings are required before the end of the year.

The city’s property tax revenue is expected to decrease by 1 percent – or $3,464 – because of declining property values.

• Council approved the updated interlocal agreement for Greater Spokane Emergency Management presented by Tom Mattern, Spokane County’s deputy director of emergency management.

The update of the 2005 agreement is the result of a review performed last year.

The $424,794 program provides emergency management for all of Spokane County. Millwood’s portion is $1,600. Before the new agreement, Spokane County paid for Millwood.

One change to the agreement includes the creation of the Emergency Management Policy Board and Operations Group.

• Council adopted an amendment to the city’s medical reimbursement plan for employees.

• Council approved an ordinance amending the city’s local sewage pretreatment regulatory program.

• Lee Taylor, director of Project Access, presented a short update and asked council for $4,000 next year to support the program.

Project Access provides health care to the low-income and uninsured residents of Spokane County by providing a charity network of physicians and hospitals.

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