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S. Jordan’s budget rises a hefty 60%, but . . .

SHARE S. Jordan’s budget rises a hefty 60%, but . . .

If you just look at the bottom line, the appearance of South Jordan city's general fund budget for fiscal 1999 can be somewhat deceiving if not downright infuriating.

The first thing you notice is the $9.2 million bottom line spending projection for the next 12 months.That's a whopping $3.3 million increase in city spending over last year's budget of $5.9 million.

If you've got your calculator going, that's a hefty overall increase of 60 percent.

But before you round up that lynch mob and head for City Hall with a rope, take another look.

Most of that increase is found in the capital projects budget and is earmarked for work on parks, roads, water lines and sewers.

But $2.1 million in revenue is coming from the city's fund balance, a reserve of unappropriated money within the general fund, to help pay for those projects.

More important, however, there are no increases in South Jordan taxes or fees and there are only moderate budget increases for most city departments.

And there's still a million or so dollars left in reserve for future community needs.

"The City Council has built up reserves in the general fund and now we're pledging them to capital projects" to meet critical needs generated by growth, explained City Administrator Dave Millheim.

Those needs are substantial, he said, noting the city "has a capital facilities project list of about $200 million" in 1998 dollars that must be met as the city gradually approaches build-out.

Topping the 1998 capital projects list is funding for Phase Three of Redwood Road Park (at about 11100 South) and design money to begin planning the 11400 South connection between I-15 and 1300 West. And about $1.8 million has been set aside to extend the Jordan Gateway Road between 11000 South and 11400 South.

On the other hand, budgets for public works and community/

economic development have only been increased moderately.

The city is expanding its work force by one engineer and a part-time building department secretary despite heavy demands on development services.

Pay increases are limited to a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment and another 2 percent that will be pooled to give merit pay increases.

"It's a very conservative, status quo budget" in spite of the numbers, Millheim said. "We've tried to address both growth and our capital project needs while emphasizing economic development.

"But this is the toughest budget I've been involved with since coming to South Jordan" 31/2 years ago, he added. "We're barely keeping up with growth."

The two largest increases came in the public safety budget, where the city will spend $715,000 more next year for police and fire service, and the engineering budget, where much of a $79,000 increase is earmarked to hire another engineer.

City Councilman Gary Chandler said city officials have agreed the emphasis for fiscal 1999 would be "meeting the need for capital improvements in our city.

"Now is the window of opportunity for attracting business into our city and building our economic base," he noted. "To do that, we need infrastructure in place.

"We were fortunate that we did have a lot of unappropriated money in the general fund we could use on capital expenditures," he added.

Sharlene Behunin, the city's administrative services director, said there were many departmental requests for staff and equipment that were not funded.

"We agreed we would get by for another year" to free up as much money as possible for capital projects, she added.

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Additional Information

Budget - South Jordan

General fund: $9,234,348

1998-99

General fund $5,924,348

1997-98

Where it comes from:

Property tax: $1,417,339

Last year: $1,272,106

Sales tax: $1,900,000

Last year: $1,824,000

Energy sale/use tax: $ 710,000

Last year: $ 650,000

Licenses/permits $ 962,500

Last year: $ 906,500

Other revenues: $4,245,139

Last year: $1,271,642

Where it goes:

Public safety: $2,727,974

Last year: $2,012,663

Capital projects $6,524,503

Last year: $4,517,115

Public works: $ 734,955

Last year: $ 734,710

Community devel.: $ 438,342

Last year: $ 388,191

Engineering: $ 411,932

Last year: $ 332,919

Tax/fee increases

None