Council votes Monday on 2006 budget

The Port Orchard City Council will decide on Monday night whether to adopt the 2006 budget it has been studying as is or make changes — although councilmembers have engaged in very little debate over the general numbers.

According to City Treasurer Kris Tompkins, the city expects total revenue of $21.4 million, down from last year’s $29.9 million because this year the city will not be drawing on a public works loan for the continued construction of Port Orchard’s joint wastewater treatment facility.

“We won’t be (taking the loan) this year because we hope the plant will be completed,” said Council member Rita DiIenno, a member of the Finance Committee. “The biggest difference this year is the banked tax amount that we have. Most of the debates centered on how we should use the extra money that comes in.”

The council voted last month to raise the city’s property taxes from $1.7994 per $1,000 of assessed value to $2.10 per $1,000 in 2006.

Although the city is allowed by law to raise its taxes by 1 percent every year over the previous year’s budget, the 30-cent increase is a result of a legal loophole called “banked property tax capacity.”

The city is allowed to claim up to $431,390 in property taxes from its citizens. The council voted to take only $227,107 — roughly half of the total — leaving more than $200,000 to be claimed in subsequent years.

DiIenno said the funds will most likely be used to facilitate downtown wiring projects and be “matched” to amounts raised by neighborhoods in the community who want to form a Local Improvement District (LID) to improve their streets or sidewalks.

The general fund, however — including $3,024,248 for general city practices, $2,423,610 for the police department and other law enforcement, $1,706,655 for the Street Fund, $1,193,000 for the Arterial Street Fund, $23,160 for the “Special Investigative Unit Fund,” $93,500 for the Community Events Fund and $3,918,500 for the Water — Sewer Utilities Fund — seems standard.

“I don’t think there’s much of a difference in the other revenue streams,” DiIenno said.

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