MORONI—The Moroni City Council has approved a general fund budget for 2022-23 of $1.3 million, up more than $372,000 from the previous year.
But the general fund, which pays for city government services, started out a lot higher. The first draft showed a police budget of $274,000, which would have funded a full-time chief and full- time officer.
Because of that number, and increases in some other areas, the first draft of the budget showed general fund expenditures of $1.5 million, up close to $600,000 from the 2021-22 budget.
However, to raise enough money for a two-person police force, the city was proposing to raise the police fee, a charge tacked on to utility bills, from $20 per month to $43 per month.
But following a public hearing, things changed. While some citizens who spoke at the hearing wanted to keep policing local and expand to two officers, at least 10 residents said Moroni wasn’t ready, administratively or financially, for its own police force.
At that point, the city council reversed a vote in March to keep policing under the city government and voted unanimously to contract with the Sanpete County Sheriff ’s Office for policing.
With that vote, the council cut the line item for policing from $274,000 to $143,150. Most of the budgeted funds will go to cover contract payments to the county for policing. The council did not raise the police fee.
Gary Keddington, city financial advisor, pointed out that even with the cutback in police budget, the general fund, as approved, was artificially high.
That’s because the city carried over $378,700 in state road funding that was received but not spent in 2021-22.
Moroni plans a lot of street work in the coming fiscal year. The 2021-22 budget for roads was $188,400. The final budget for streets for 2022-23 is $593,600, up more than double.
The city is wrapping up its big water project, which includes a new well and water tank. That project is covered by last year’s budget. But in the coming year, it is facing a requirement imposed by the Utah Legislature to put meters on all secondary water connections.
Metering secondary water has been shown to significantly decrease water consumption.
The estimated cost of the irrigation water meters is $1.2 million. The city hopes to get a state grant for $900,000 and a state loan for $270,000. That leaves at least $30,000 the city has to come up with out of its own funds.
So the council adopted a $14.41 fee for each residential secondary water connection. Keddington said $3 of the fee would be imposed immediately to help the city get ready for the project. The remaining $11.41 will not be charged until the city gets the grant and loan funding to move forward.
While the general fund is the biggest single piece, it is not the whole city budget. Moroni has six enterprise or special funds, where the city takes in revenue for a specific purpose and spends it to deliver the specified service.
Examples are the water, sewer, irrigation and perpetual care funds.
The combined expenditures budget for those funds for 2022- 23 is about $5.2 million, up from $4.3 million the previous year. That’s a difference of $812,000 or nearly 19 percent.
Projected expenditures for the total city, including the general fund, enterprise funds and special funds, are $6.5 million, compared to $5.3 million budgeted for the previous years. That’s an increase of roughly $1.2 million, or 22 percent.