The proposed 2020 budget for the City of Chehalis was approved on first reading by the council at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The revenues total $23,961,352 and the expenditures $26,527,123. Included in the expenditures are $18.4 million for operating costs, $2.6 million for debt service and $5 million in capital projects.
The city’s financial director, Chun Saul, reported that the budget is not structurally balanced, meaning the expenditures are more than the revenues.
“One-time reductions of revenue will fill the gap in 2020; however, a significant infusion of revenues or a significant reduction in expenses will be needed in 2021 and beyond,” she reported.
The general fund’s proposed revenue is $9,977,976 and 87.5 percent of that comes from taxes, most of which is sales tax (51.6 percent). The proposed general fund expenditure budget is $10,324,818. Of the general fund budget, 56 percent is dedicated to police and fire. Salaries and benefits compose nearly 73 percent of the total general fund budget.
Some of the expenses in the 2020 general fund include: facility maintenance of Stan Hedwall Park, Little League fields and landscaping on National Avenue ($45K), computer software ($30K), seasonal and part-time employees minimum wage increases from $12/hour to $13.50, City Utilities ($112K).
The council voted unanimously to forgo the one percent property tax increase that is allowed each year without a vote for the citizens.
The city listed some plans for the future that include quarterly Council Budget Committee meetings, improving fiscal stability by long-term planning for 2021 and 2022, identifying potential new revenues, watching economic trends, and continuing to monitor the budget carefully. City Manager, Jill Anderson mentioned that there are nine city employees identified as likely to retire in 2021 that require money be set aside to pay for unused vacation and under certain contracts, sick-leave as well.
The public hearing was closed without any public comments. The proposed 2020 budget report can be found on the City of Chehalis website under agenda & minutes. https://www.ci.chehalis.wa.us/sites/default/files/fileattachments/city_council/meeting/4571/agenda_packet.pdf