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City finances: Snips, cuts


The City of Sequim ended its 2012 year in a financial lock.

 

Administrative Services Director Elray Konkel said that a mixture of budget cuts and tax increases helped keep the municipality solvent.

 

In the past year, the city reduced expenditures to counter diminished revenues and stagnating growth in order to safeguard itself with sufficient operating funds.

 

The city’s general fund took in $103,000 less than budgeted, but staff worked in-house to secure $378,000 in savings keeping the revenues in the black.

 

Konkel said that the largest loss of tax revenue was due to decreased residential and commercial construction in the area.

 

While the revenues dropped, Konkel said the city still managed to combine cost cuts and tax increases to keep the city afloat. While some governments try to cut all expenses without raising revenues, he said Sequim citizens voted for several tax increases to pay for projects like the Transportation Benefit District and the Police and City Hall Complex.

 

“I applaud the people in this community for recognizing that certain fees need to go up if we’re going to maintain the streets and build a new police station because it just can’t be done out of the revenue stream anymore,” Konkel said.

 

Similar to the general fund, other revenues and expenses balanced for a mostly positive outlook of the city’s financial situation.

 

In street operations, revenues went up $4,000 with expenses cut down by $35,000 with an annual balance of $207,000.

 

With water operations, revenues rose $37,000 and expenditures went down $208,000 with a $207,000 balance.

 

The city’s sewer revenues went down $55,000 but expenditures declined by $243,000 for an ending balance of $1,500,000.

 

Overall, Sequim spent $2.35 million on capital projects in 2012. The fees were distributed among several small road improvements and large projects, such as the new City Hall and Police Department buildings.

 

Other projects centered around road improvements and future construction in 2012 include:

 

• $533,000 to refit South Sequim Avenue
• $200,000 for improvements to North Seventh Avenue
• $147,000 for North End Lift Station and Reservoir Road generators
• $190,000 for preparatory work for West Sequim Bay Road and Oakwood Drive repairs
• $30,000 for the new city hall’s needs analysis and conceptual design
• $1,250,000 for Serenity House property for the new city hall/police station

 

The Transportation Benefit District saw a net loss of $242,656. Its revenues were $522,076 and expenses were $764,732. The district spent several small sums ranging between $4,000 and $66,000 on road improvements and minor construction projects. It also spent several large sums on major road improvements and the Olympic Discovery Trail:

 

• $4,000 on insurance and audit expenses in 2012
• $4,000 on the Priest Road project in 2011
• $11,000 on the Bike Rack project in 2011
• $39,000 on the South Sequim Avenue Pavement project in 2011
• $66,000 on the Third Avenue Sidewalk project in 2011
• $144,000 on the 14th Avenue connector road project in 2011
• $267,000 on the North Seventh Avenue rehabilitation project in 2012
• $130,000 in contributions to the West Sequim Bay Road, Olympic Discovery Trail and Transportation Master Plan projects

• $100,000 in safety enhancements for maintenance and operations.

 


Contact Ross Coyle at rcoyle@sequimgazette.com.

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