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7/9/2013 11:41:00 AM
Williams budget up 4.32 percent
City staff budgets $77,000 for recreational facilities, city officials expect golf course to make more money this year
City of Williams officials expect Elephant Rocks Golf Course to make more money this year under new management. Ryan Williams/WGCN
City of Williams officials expect Elephant Rocks Golf Course to make more money this year under new management. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

Things are looking up for the city of Williams. The total city of Williams budget for fiscal year 2013/2014 is $18,877,503, which is a 4.32 percent increase from last year's fiscal budget.

Williams City Council members unanimously approved the 2013/2014 tentative budget at their June 27 meeting.

The next step is a public hearing about the budget on July 27 before the council adopts the final budget.

City of Williams Finance Director Keith Buonocore said several factors contributed to the increase.

First, the budget includes an extra $100,000 in the general fund to pay for an impact fee study. Under a 2011 state law, cities must complete an Infrastructure Improvement Plan in order to collect impact fees after August 1, 2014. A professional such as an engineer must develop the plan and update it every five years.

This year the city's impact fees generated an estimated $59,749. Next year, city officials anticipate impact fees will bring in about $45,800.

Buonocore also attributed this year's budget increase to the city putting more money toward recreation facilities from the Bed, Board and Booze fund. Staff has budgeted $77,000 for the recreation facilities portion of the fund, which is an increase of 120 percent from fiscal year 2012/2013.

The city hopes to use that additional money to replace the horse stall panels at the Rodeo Grounds, install new doors at the Recreation Center and Skate Park, add a climbing wall at the swimming pool, complete improvements at Monument Park and continue improvements at the Railroad Park Display.

"We're going to concentrate on some projects that we know have needed to be addressed over the past few years, and I think we can accomplish that in this budget," Buonocore said.

Another reason for the budget increase is a raise in electric rates. The rates increased 3 percent on January 1, 2012 and increased another 3 percent on January 1, 2013.

Finally, the budget is higher for fiscal year 2013/2014 because the city expects the golf course to make more money this year with the new manager, Scott Little, who started in March.

"So all those contribute to that 4 percent increase there," Buonocore said. "But on the same side of that we've got the revenue that's going to cover that."

Under the tentative budget, the total amount available for street improvements is $285,429. The city anticipates the 0.5 percent sales tax increase dedicated to street improvements that went into effect March 1 will generate $350,000 this year.

"We're going to try to get all the streets in order, so this is a good start," Buonocore said.

This budget also includes two major staff additions. The city will hire a part-time planner to help in the building department, which will cost about $32,000. In addition, the city will hire a utilities superintendent. Bill Pruett, who had been working as the interim water superintendent, will now work as the water plant operator. The superintendent position will be $88,000 with benefits.

"We've got pretty much full staffing now with this budget," Buonocore said.

Also included in this budget is a one-time bonus for city employees, which will add up to $62,000. The last time city employees got a bonus was about three years ago.

"It may not be that much, but at least it's something to say thank you and keep up the good work," Buonocore said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: oh please

Is it going to be a banner year for weddings?? Or are they going to make all this new money selling hot dogs and hamburgers in the 8 month golf season?

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Article comment by: Amy Kramer

Not sure how they can justify spending the money to put a climbing wall at the pool when they don't even have the money to keep the pool open. It's only open ten weeks a year because we don't have the money but we can spend money to put a rock wall in? Ridiculous! The money being spent in water department also means I won't have brown water this year?! I should hope so!

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