City & Government

City budget approved, focused on growth

New construction, renovation and newly repurposed staff positions are among the notable aspects of the City’s fiscal-year budget, approved Monday, June 10 during the City Council meeting. More specifically:
 Completing City Hall’s second floor for about $300,000
 A $450,000 interfund loan for new hangars at Creswell Airport
 Replacing the Economic Development Coordinator position with an Assistant City Recorder/County Clerk position
 Adding a Public Works and Planning Specialist position
The budget also details higher personnel and police services expenses, and utility rate and Public Safety fee increases.
Transferring General Fund reserves to finish City Hall’s second floor instead of waiting until that space is needed for additional City staff – projected within the next five years – reflects expectations, said Jim Piper, city finance director and budget officer. The construction and materials costs will continue to rise, and the space can be rented out to another government office in the interim, saving money over future costs while recouping some of the outlay, he said.
The airport already receives a $50,000 annual operating transfer from the General Fund, and Piper said the airport has a waiting list for hangars. With available land, the seven to 12 new hangars are expected to generate additional rental income and fuel sales, he said.
Adding assistant city recorder/court clerk and Public Works and Planning specialist positions instead of refilling the Economic Development Coordinator position vacated by Michael DeHart made sense because ”we found we were reaching workload capacity in these two areas,” Piper said.
A portion of economic development duties shift to City Administrator Michelle Amberg and to Creswell’s Urban Renewal Agency – which Piper noted is also expected ”to generate some future funding now that we have that taxing district.”
Ongoing economic development projects include downtown revitalization and infrastructure to (re)develop vacant commercial and industrial lands, officials said.
The Public Works and Planning specialist will provide additional administrative support to City Planner Maddie Phillips and Public Works Director Cliff Bellew.
Upcoming Public Works projects include major street improvements on A and South 2nd streets; a General Fund transfer of $1 million will continue funding the Street Capital Improvement Reserve Fund.
”The 2019-20 budget continues to reflect the City Council policy decisions to reduce the fund balance reserves to provide continued economic development opportunities,” Piper wrote in his budget message. ”Ending fund balance reserves and contingency continue to meet the minimum requirements established by City fiscal policy.”
A total of $425,000 is budgeted for park land acquisition and park planning and design, including new South 2nd Street and Grassland Street parks.
South 2nd Street park design work begins in 2019-20, with development projected for FY 2022-23.
The City-owned Grassland Street property offers a unique commingled-use potential, Piper said, including a partially buried, 30- to 60-foot diameter water storage tank when needed for future infrastructure and a passive park with pathways, benches and flowers.
Personnel costs increase by $282,842 (about 16 percent), reflecting evaluation-based step increases, 3.2-percent cost of living adjustment, 6 percent increase in medical insurance benefits costs and an approximately 6 percent increase in the City’s PERS rate.
City residents will also see a 3 percent increase in water and sewer rates, as recommended by the Water Advisory Committee. The Public Safety fee increases 66 cents to $8.18 per month, effective July 1, 2019.
”It is necessary that the utility rates are structured to ensure that funds are available to pay for operating expenses, ongoing capital needs and debt service obligations,” Piper wrote in his budget message, noting transfers of $447,693 to the City’s Water Capital Improvement Fund and $250,419 to the Sewer Capital Improvement Fund to meet current and future capital improvement plans.
Contractual services for police protection through Lane County Sheriff’s Office increases $25,681 (3.4 percent) for three full-time deputies and one full-time sergeant/chief.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos