Preliminary budget for the city of Battle Ground includes a 1 percent property tax increase, other fiscal impacts

BATTLE GROUND — During a regular Battle Ground City Council meeting on Mon., Nov. 7, City Council members and city staff began some of the official action needed to eventually adopt the 2017-2018 budget coming up in December.

Officials in the city of Battle Ground have been participating in study sessions and other meetings to discuss the city’s 2017-2018 biennial budget since about mid-July. The preliminary budget was presented to City Council members during a regular meeting on Mon., Nov. 7.

Preliminary budget for the city of Battle Ground includes a 1 percent property tax increase, other fiscal impacts
The city of Battle Ground recently began work on its 2017-2018 biennial budget. A public hearing will be held on the budget on Mon., Nov. 21, at 7 p.m., and will be adopted sometime in December. Photo from the city of Battle Ground Facebook page

According to Maggie Smith, finance and information services director for the city of Battle Ground, the estimated 2017-2018 biennial budget is approximately $70 million, an increase from the $55 million 2015-2016 budget.

Fiscal impacts that have been considered in the 2017-2018 budget include a 1 percent property tax increase, fee schedule increases with index or cost recovery, utility rate increases per consultant recommendations, fire contract increases due to increased assessed property values, continued new construction activity within the city, increases in capital projects and union contracts.

During the Nov. 7 meeting, a public hearing was held on the proposed 1 percent property tax increase as recommended in the city’s 2017-2018 budget. No citizens addressed the council regarding this issue during the public hearing.

According to information presented by Smith during the meeting, city council members are required to to adopt an ordinance establishing the amount to be raised by property taxes during each year of the 2017-2018 biennial budget. The city is allowed to increase its 2017 property tax levy by the lesser of 1 percent or the percentage increase in the implicit price deflator on its highest lawful levy since 1985. The implicit price deflator in June 2016 was 0.953 percent.

For cities with a population of 10,000 or greater, Smith indicated that RCW 54.55.0101 requires the legislative authority of a taxing district (the council) to issue a finding of substantial need to increase the limit factor above the rate of inflation.

Smith said passing the substantial need ordinance and raising the property tax levy by 1 percent will bring in an additional $28,000 to the city. The effect on homeowners, assuming home values continue to increase, would be an increase of about $1.38 per month.

The city’s actual property tax levy amount from the previous year was $2,807,748. The estimated 2017 levy is $2,918,151.

A public hearing on the proposed 2017-2018 biennial budget will be held during the regular Mon., Nov. 21 Battle Ground City Council meeting at 7 p.m. City Council members will aim to adopt the budget during a meeting in December.

The preliminary 2017-2018 budget is available for review in the City Clerk’s Office at Battle Ground City Hall, 109 SW 1st St., Battle Ground. Questions regarding the budget can be directed to Finance and Information Services Director Maggie Smith at (360) 342-5025.

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