NEWS HEADLINES

Residents to see slight water, tax increases

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Needed improvements at the city’s water and wastewater plants drove a lot of the budget planning for Runaway Bay city officials this year.

After a public hearing that drew no comment, the council last Tuesday approved a balanced $1,110,911 budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

Alotted capital outlay will fund state-mandated repairs to clarifier gears, along with foundation fixes at the wastewater plant, a sewer camera with a locater and video recording capabilities and a vertical pump for the water plant, as outlined by a recently conducted water study.

To help offset some of those expenditures, the council approved increasing base water and sewer rates by $4.90.

“This will help us continue to provide the current level of service that we do and also help us move forward with some issues that we have pushed to the back burner,” city secretary Oneta Berghoefer said.

Officials also OK’d a .0003 increase to the tax rate. On the certified tax roll released in July, property values in the city increased by .43 percent.

The rate increase to 61.57 cents would help generate the same amount of revenue as previous years.

The miniscule increase is expected to raise $6,991 more, but that additional revenue is from new property added to the roll.

“In effect, we are not raising our property tax tonight,” Berghoefer said.

Other highlights of the 2013-2014 budget include:

  • $55,000 for two police vehicles – “This request had been denied the last two years,” councilman Neil Peters said. “They got to the point that they had to be replaced.”
  • a 5 percent cost-of-living increase for all employees.
  • $45,000 to pay off debt.

“We went over these things very much in detail,” Peters said. “Not all of the staff agreed with all of it … but I believe the entire city council can agree that the overall (plan) is a real good fit this year.”

IN OTHER NEWS

The council also approved:

  • a memorandum of understanding with the fire department outlining the responsibilities of the city and the department. “I’m thoroughly pleased with it,” Fire Chief Brian Bernardo said.
  • a sign request for The Bay Community Church.
  • agreements with the county for animal control and fire protection/first responder services.

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