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S. JORDAN TONES DOWN ITS CAPITAL PROJECTS

City Council members received a 1996-97 budget proposal Tuesday night that is $5 million less than last year's.

Capital projects - such as $3 million for roads and $2 million for water - on last year's budget weren't needed this year, said Sharlene Behunin, the city's administrative services director."They had some huge capital projects that needed to be done that they spent reserves on last year to get off the ground," Behunin said. "This year we don't dip into any reserves anywhere. . . . This is a balanced budget."

Capital projects are not included in the general fund, which increased slightly over last year.

Behunin said city spending is consistent with last year and will stay conservative until the city is living off its means and not off its growth.

Fees gathered from building permits are being used to fund everyday services, said City Administrator Dave Millheim.

"The city has, in some ways, been living on borrowed time," Millheim told the City Council Tuesday. "We want to wean ourselves from those one-time-only revenues."

To lessen the dependency, the budget proposal projects building permit revenue to remain stagnant even though South Jordan is experiencing economic growth. City officials hope this will lead to the one-time revenue from permit funds be used for one-time expenditures, like capital projects.

Behunin's budget proposal will be the focus of a daylong retreat for city leaders Wednesday and a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 21. Changes can be made to the document before its scheduled adoption June 18.

Last year the city set four major goals in its budget. Millheim said serious efforts were made in three areas but the city still needs to establish a five-year plan for projects.

One goal set for this year, already met, is finding money for a new $81,000 ambulance.

Budget expenditures also include more than $1 million for city services such as insurance, legal fees, the municipal court and economic development.

Unlike last year's budget that included funding for 14 new city employees, the budget proposal only calls for two new staff positions. Behunin said the new police officer and maintenance worker positions won't fill the city's need, but it's all the city can afford.

Three full-time firefighters will be funded by reclassifying money in the fire department's budget. Another full-time firefighter position is needed and will appear in the city's goal list accompanying the budget.

The budget proposal has a shorter list for capital improvements than its predecessor. The city is proposing to spend more than $2 million for new storm drainage, road and park projects and $1 million in water projects.

"I have told them they can't have more than that if economic development can't pay for it. That is such a critical point. Funding on one-time revenues is dangerous," Behunin said. "The flat projections are conservative to even out the peaks and valleys of a growing community."

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Budget: SOUTH JORDAN

General fund: $4,686,508

1996-97

General fund: $4,730,850

1995-96

Where it comes from:

Property tax: $917,745

Last year: $1,075,000

Sales tax: $1,375,000

Last year: $1,275,000

Franchise tax: $360,000

Last year: $357,000

Other revenues: $2,020,763

Last year: $1,960,200

Fund transfers: $13,000

Last year: $63,650

Where it goes:

Public safety: $1,835,106

Last year: $1,471,013

Parks & recreation: $246,746

Last year: $315,070

Streets: $400,110

Last year: $470,444

Community devel.: $240,217

Last year: $192,555

Engineering: $277,368

Last year: $278,550

Tax/fee increases:

None