MAPLETON -- The city's 1999-2000 general fund budget proposal of $1.7 million has received tentative approval, while deficits in the current budget have been whittled down to nothing.
The action to move the proposal closer to final approval was taken despite protests from residents complaining about a variety of money issues. Meanwhile, the city is looking at a reserve fund of about $425,000 in surplus monies. It already has some $325,000 in city coffers and expects another $100,000, City Recorder Don Walker said.Unexpected revenue from building permits, sales taxes and plan check fees served to balance the current budget, officials said. Meanwhile, with some 200 more homes added to the city's two-year old sewer, the monthly sewer fee would be reduced by $2. Now some 1,500 homes are hooked to the sewer, compared with about 1,300 in 1997. Homeowners on the sewer would pay $40.30 a month, while residents not hooked to the sewer -- but who still must help pay for it -- would pay $32.50 a month.
The city is also setting aside $40,000 for a storm drain study and $100,000 in a single fund to replace worn out equipment. The $100,000 would come from the reserve fund, which has been accumulated for years, City Administrator Keith Morey said. "I doubt a city the size of Mapleton could generate $425,000 in one year," he said. The money would also be used to even out cash flow problems and for emergencies, he said. Property taxes, raised last year, would remain the same, but the tax hike still received from fallout.
A few residents complained about spending on personnel and other issues. "You hired a city manager to do your job," complained resident Ruth Hatfield, referring to Morey, hired earlier this year in a newly created position. "(That's) $54,000 a year. That's a little much to do your job when it could be done for nothing," she said.
She also complained about the city plan to hire three part time police officers with a federal grant. She said the city has too many police officers now. Mapleton has eight full-time police officers. The city has no crime and no business district, she said.
However, Councilman Stuart Newton advised her to look at the annual crime report, which includes a homicide and other major crimes that occurred last year. Residents also complained about the roads, but those will be fixed when the city finishes installing its new secondary irrigation line, Councilman Richard Hjorth said.
Councilman Brian Lambert said the city had to "bite the bullet" and raise taxes last year because they hadn't been raised in more than a decade. If the council hadn't done that, he said, "we would have gone bankrupt."