Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that he has signed all three mid-biennium budget amendment resolutions passed by the City Council at its meeting Monday, August 31. By signing all three, there will be no reduction in the property tax levy, which he said would conflict with the community goals of building on the City's success, keeping the budget structurally sound, strengthening public safety and adding to the Police-Fire Pension Fund.
"We have committed to progress, but that progress in this instance can only be sustained by reinvesting the benefits of growth into future growth," Beutler said. "Reinvesting the property tax revaluation revenue increase is an example of reinvesting the growth dividend."
At the Council meeting, the budget amendment resolution was split into three parts, labeled A, B and C. Earlier this week, the Mayor signed Resolution B, which meets basic City fiscal and legal requirements, and Resolution C, which allows reappropriated funds to be used for important projects, such as Police Officers and equipment. Resolution A included language to cut the tax levy by one cent. It also included Mayor Beutler's budget adjustments to purchase new fire apparatus and add money to the pension fund as well as Council Member Leirion Gaylor Baird's proposal to provide more money for the pension fund, potholes and parks.
"Originally, we believed that a veto of Resolution A was the best course of action to meet our budget goals," Beutler said. "Resolution A intended to reduce the levy by one cent. After studying the amendment, the Budget Office has concluded that it does not cut the funds needed from the 2015-16 budget to keep the budget balanced. Therefore, the levy cannot legally be lowered. Since Resolution A allows the City to purchase the fire apparatus and move the $900,000 into the pension without lowering the levy, it actually make more sense to sign it rather than veto it."
Beutler said the cuts proposed by Council Member Roy Christensen were from 2014-15 funds, from non-tax funds or from funds to be borrowed in the future that do not impact tax funds. While Resolution A included the one-cent levy reduction, the proposal did not meet the requirement in State law to submit a budget where the revenue and expenditures are balanced.
Beutler said most Council members indicated their support for the new fire apparatus and adding to the pension fund. "Despite our differences on the levy question, we accomplished many of the goals we had in common," he said. "Next year when the two-year budget preparation is in full swing and our citizen groups actually have a chance to guide us, we will listen to them and make changes accordingly." The City will begin preparing a new biennial budget for 2016-18 early next year.