As of Thursday, December 15, 2016
PROSSER The City Council approved a $28.2 million budget for 2017 Tuesday night.
The general fund will be $5.5 million, covering day-to-day expenses for the city.
The council also approved a series of utility rate increases last night, though less than initially proposed by city staff. They include 3 percent for water and 2 percent for sewer.
The council was initially asked to consider a 4 percent water increase and an 8.7 percent increase for bulk water use.
As for the sewer rate, it was originally proposed to increase by 4.5 percent.
With the rate increases less than originally sought, City Administrator Dave Stockdale said the city will make ends meet though other ways.
In the wastewater fund, for example, he said the city will delay some spending.
“We’ll reduce the capital purchase for operational improvement rather than reduce wastewater reserves,” Stockdale said.
“It is a high priority to build wastewater reserves so we can plan for growth,” he added. “Prosser is seeing unprecedented growth in our industries and we’re trying to keep up with that at our wastewater plant.”
The city is taking a different approach to balancing the water fund.
“We had to balance the water fund by reducing its reserves by $13,000 to $16,000,” Stockdale said. “That doesn’t impact day-to-day operations, but it does reduce how much we can build reserves for future expansion.”
Besides the general fund, other fund expenditures include $3.9 million for the sewer fund, $3.3 million for the water fund and $1.6 million for the wastewater improvement project.
Previously, the council approved a 1 percent property tax increase for 2017.
The council also discussed jail services. Benton County and its incorporated cities are currently in the process of renegotiating jail services, Stockdale said.
The City Council’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 601 S. Seventh St.
Prosser is one of several regional cities wrapping up 2017 budget preparations. The Mabton City Council, for example, will have its final budget hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting is in City Hall, 305 N. Main St.