FAIRVIEW— The newly approved budget for Fairview City looks to be on the conservative side, figures suggest.
The Fairview City Council approved a general fund budget of $1.1 million and a budget for all city activities of $3.4 million for the fiscal year running from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. The general fund is up about 8 percent from the previous year. The total city— including the general fund plus five enterprise or special funds— is up 3 percent.
The general fund supports city government activities such as the justice court, administration, police, fire, roads, garbage collection and parks, among other items.
Enterprise and “special” funds are self-contained pots of money that get revenue from defined sources and spend it to deliver a specific service.
Examples are water, sewer and electricity. These services get revenue from rate payers and spend it to deliver the utility services.
Another self-contained fund is the Recreation/Arts/ Parks fund, which gets money from a 1/10th-cent sales tax approved by the voters several years ago. The money goes for recreation, arts and parks projects.
Fairview City Manager Cameron Thompson says Fairview had a good year in 2021- 22. The city had a surplus in its general fund that it was able to carry over into the coming year. Initial drafts of the 2022- 23 budget showed revenue shortfalls in several categories, but the surplus from the previous year covered them.
Within the general fund, the administration category went from $121,620 to $330,184. That reflected bringing on Thompson as city manager along with a 2.7 percent pay increase for city staff.
Projected expenditures for police went from $180,459 to $247,819, primarily because of the addition of a second officer. The general fund shows a drop in cemetery expenses from about $25,000 to $15,000.
When a resident complained about cemetery conditions at a recent meeting, Mayor Brad Welch explained the city is in a holding pattern on cemetery improvements because of the project to use water coming out of the microfiltration sewer plant to irrigate the cemetery.
“We don’t want to go in and make improvements now only to have to tear them up next year when we install the new water system,” Welch said. “Don’t worry. We’re going to make the cemetery a place to be proud of as soon as the water system is done.”
Among the enterprise and special funds, the water system budget shows expenditures going from about $300,000 to $385,000 from last year to next year, an increase of 28.6 percent. But the budgets for both last year and next year show surpluses. Those net revenues easily cover the increased ex- penditures projected for the coming year.
The sewer and electricity systems are a different story. Both last year and this year, the city projects the operations ending up in the red.
The FY 2023 budget for sewer system expenses is about $546,000, down from $562,000 last year. Nonetheless, the budget projects a $91,000 deficit in the coming year.
Based on the FY 2022 and FY 2023 budgets, electricity expenses will go from $1.04 million last year to $1.12 million next year. The budget projects a $149,000 revenue shortfall in the coming year.
Thompson said the city is going through a rate study, particularly of electricity rates. Based on the study, rates will probably be raised to bring revenues in line with expenditures in future budgets.