OMAK – Current expense budget requests for 2022 were reviewed during an Omak City Council budget workshop Oct. 25, with City Administrator Todd McDaniel saying the city is in good financial shape.
The meeting was conducted via Zoom.
During 2021, revenues have been coming in higher than anticipated, particularly the retail sales tax, McDaniel said. He expects the revenue will be similar in 2022 and has projected retail sales tax revenue to come in at $2.1 million.
The proposed 2022 budget is not much different than 2021, other than a recent budget amendment approved by council. The budget amendment recognized revenue and expenditures in the police department and other funds.
In 2021, the wages were increased for the police chief and the records clerk position was increased to full time.
McDaniel said Chief Dan Christensen, hired during 2021, is the “wild card” in the budget because he is new to the process and is building up his department.
Mayor Cindy Gagne’s proposed budget includes a 6 percent increase in non-union salaries. The public works crew increase is 3 percent, according to the labor agreement and the police officers and sergeants are set to get a 2.5 percent raise.
The also includes expenditure of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds of more than $1.33 million. The first half of ARPA money was received in 2021 and has inflated the 2022 beginning fund balance to more than $2 million, McDaniel said.
The second half will be received in 2022.
Next year’s budget anticipates the total amount being expended, normalizing the ending fund balance for 2022.
The mayor’s proposed budget also includes a 3 percent increase in all city utility rates, which is not keeping up with inflation. The Consumer Price Index is 6 percent.
McDaniel said dedicated utility funds include more projects than the city can afford to do.
The budget document includes a 1 percent property tax increase, which would provide an additional $8,611 in revenue city-wide.
In other funds:
-The garbage fund is strong and there could be a reduction in garbage rates.
-The airport fund is strong because of the 2021 fuel sales because of wildland fires.
-The city is gaining money in the affordable housing, capital improvement and Stampede Arena redevelopment funds. Those three funds have restricted use or are earmarked for a specific expenditure or long-term debt.