UNION — The municipal property tax levy will remain the same but most utility rates and the garbage collection fee will increase in the City of Union in fiscal 2014-2015.
The City of Union’s combined budget for fiscal 2014-2015 totals $45,237,170, an increase of 8.25 percent over the current budget of $41,870,350. The increase is due primarily to expected increases in the cost of wholesale power and natural gas.
Union City Council voted unanimously to approve second and final reading of the combined budget which includes:
The General Fund is that part of the budget which covers all municipal government departments including the Public Safety, Public Services, Vehicle Maintenance, and Building & Zoning.
General Fund revenues and expenditures for fiscal 2014-2015 are budgeted at $5,701,850, including $121,900 for equipment replacement.
Council also voted unanimously Tuesday to approve second and final reading of the municipal property tax levy which generates the revenue for General Fund operations. The municipal property tax levy for fiscal 2014-2015 will remain at its current level of 92.5 mills.
Solid Waste Management
The Solid Waste Management Fund covers municipal garbage collection and its 2014-2015 budget totals $763,200.
While the budget does not include any new capital expenditures, it does include an increase in the monthly garbage collection fee from $15 to $16.
The Utility Fund is the largest part of the city budget and covers the operations of the City of Union Utility Department and its water, sewer, electricity, and natural gas divisions.
Including $368,000 for equipment replacement and vehicles and $2,678,900 for utility infrastructure the Utility Fund budget for fiscal 2014-2015 totals $37,634,120.
The expected increase in the wholesale cost of power that helped increase the overall budget will be passed along to city customers through a combination of increases in the basic facilities rates for electricity and in the demand charge for commercial, church, and industrial customers.
Water rates will increase by 8 percent and sewer rates by 10 percent under the new budget while natural gas rates will remain unchanged.
Both the General Fund and the Utility Fund will use their fund balances/cash reserves to balance revenues with expenditures.
Special Revenue Funds
The overall budget also includes the following Special Revenue Funds totaling $1,228,000:
• Local Hospitality and Accommodations — $390,000
• Drug Fund — $6,000
• Community Change — $30,000
• Debt Service-Tax Increment — $102,000
• Events Center — $700,000
The Special Revenue Funds are generated by revenue sources other than municipal property taxes and utility rates.
The overall budget also includes a one percent living adjustment for municipal employees.
Mayor Harold Thompson said that the budget is the result of the hard work of council in crafting a budget that balance revenues with expenditures while maintaining public services.
“After looking at these numbers over the last six months I think council did the best it could do to come up with the budget that we did come up with,” Thompson said. “We labored over at a couple of sessions but we feel that we did the best that we could do to maintain services and minimize any increases.”