Council looks at city budget
May 18, 2023
A preliminary version of the city’s upcoming budget reveals the Green River City Council and City Administrator Reed Clevenger continue to work towards a budget that could run the city through its sales tax revenues alone.
A final version of the budget will not be passed until June.
Work on the budget started in January and focused on a conservative approach to spending. One of the inherent challenges the city faces is how to accurately predict what revenues it can expect to receive. Sales tax receipts are the city’s primary funding generator and account for nearly three-fourths of the proposed $18.07 million budget, which is based on receipts of $75,000 a month. With sales tax revenue trending back to pre-COVID-19 levels, revenues have exceeded city forecasts by more than $1 million, which is believed to have been caused by inflation and an improving local economy. However, Clevenger admits the revenues can be hard to predict on a month-to-month basis.
“Our sales tax revenues are, number one, not consistent; and number two, not guaranteed,” Clevenger said. “The more peaks and valleys we see, the more difficult that becomes.”
The city has been able to maintain reserves and find other funding sources to meet the city’s needs.
Clevenger said the city has done a great job in seeking grants to supplement funding available to the city.
Another funding mechanism to help the city is the 1% special purpose tax, commonly known as the sixth-penny tax, that has started collection and will be available for capital projects. Clevenger said the tax approval is appreciated by other governing bodies and something that wasn’t seen as a guarantee.
“We weren’t sure how that sixth-penny was going to go,” he said.
The city has more than $2 million in cash carryover from the previous sixth-penny tax projects passed in 2014, with Clevenger saying the funds will go to slurry-seal streets projects that with either lead into larger sixth-penny construction or be used to hold some streets together long enough for a larger construction project to be planned and scheduled.
Clevenger also wants to find ways of promoting what the sixth-penny tax is doing in Green River, hoping transparency and marketing will help keep public support for the tax positive as the city looks at a potential 2025 tax proposal.