EPHRAIM—It’s not quite as big as Sanpete County’s budget, but the budget for July 2022 to June 2023 in the largest city in the county is coming close.
The Sanpete County budget for the current calendar year is $24.6 million. The Ephraim City budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $21.3 million, up about $3 million from the budget for the year that ended June 30. That translates to a 16.7 percent increase.
“Overall, things are more expensive,” says Jon Knudsen, Ephraim finance director.
Woven into many lines of the budget is an 8 percent cost-of-living increase for the city’s 39 full-time employees.
“That’s a pretty substantial increase,” Knudsen said. “Even that is below where inflation is at. That’s what the mayor and council felt was appropriate given the inflation that’s going on.”
The $21.3 million figure includes not just the “general fund,” the part of the budget that funds city government operations such as police, fire, the justice court, parks and recreation, but also 10 “enterprise” or “special” funds for water, sewer, power, special equipment purchases, etc.
Another term that might apply to the enterprise and special funds is “self-contained” funds. The funds taken in revenue, such as utility payments, or in many cases grants, and use the money to provide a defined service. Ordinarily, money in a given enterprise or special-fund money can’t be co-mingled with money used for any other purpose.
Breaking the Ephraim City budget into its two main parts, we find the net general fund for the coming year comes to about $7.3 million, up about $833,000, or 12.8 percent from the previous fiscal year.
That’s after adjusting for exceptional year-end transfers of money from enterprise and special funds to the general fund, in order to not count the revenue coming from other parts of the budget twice.
The combined total of the 10 enterprise and special funds comes to a net $14 million, much more than the general fund. In fact, the Power Department alone is expected to bring in $4.67 million in the coming fiscal year. The combined total of all the enterprise and special funds, after adjusting for transfers, is up nearly 19 percent.
The budget reflects many ambitious projects the city council has talked about for the past year or even for several years.
City Manager Shaun Kjar said the city faces the challenge of getting projects completed on time and fulfilling the requirements of various grants for the projects.
“We’ve got a lot going on. It’s going to be a big year ahead,” he said.
The budget for the Water Department is $5.5 million, up $2.3 million from the last fiscal year. That reflects plans to purchase a one-time agricultural well and convert it to a culinary well, and also to replace piping that brings water from springs in Ephraim Canyon into the city.
In 2018, some of those pipes broke, causing the city to lose 1 million gallons of culinary water. The same year, a culinary well went down.
The streets budget, part of the general fund, is $2.3 million, up $1.6 million from last year. In part, that reflects plans to extend sidewalks along 300 East past Ephraim Elementary School on up Ephraim Canyon.
“It all depends on the cost of materials,” Knudsen said. The city might do one side of the road first, then the other side. “We plan to take it as far as we can with the money available.”
A Parks and Recreation Capital Fund, one of the 10 enterprise or special funds, is budgeted to go from about $401,000 last year to $905,000 this year, a $504,000 increase.
That reflects continuing work on an All Abilities Park, a park with equipment and surfaces that are wheelchair accessible and suitable for disabled children. Plans also call for a handicapped-accessible restroom. The park is behind the Ephraim Library.
Plans are also in the works to build a skate park at Canyon View Park.
A breakdown of the general fund shows that the biggest item for FY 2023 is streets at $2.3 million. That includes the Canyon Road sidewalks projects.
Next is the police department, at $1.6 million.
Government buildings, including the city hall, senior center and public works buildings, are budgeted for $900,000.
The Finance Department, which tracks all income and expenditures, and pays payroll and all the bills, is projected to cost approximate- ly $534,000 (down about $24,000 from the previous year).
Community development, including overseeing planning, zoning and development, and engineering of city projects, is budgeted for $503,000.