PAYETTE — During their regular meeting on Sept. 8, the Payette City Council approved appropriations for the city’s fiscal year 2020-21 budget.  

The appropriations were amended for the third reading of Ordinance 1479, the city’s annual appropriations ordinance. The city’s tentative budget was approved on July 6.

Following are adjustments made to department allocations as listed in the ordinance presented at this meeting:

Cuts

• City administration funds were adjusted down from $388,810 to $383,509 

• The Streets Department budget saw a significant cut, from $1,443,979 to $1,143,889

• The Library budget was trimmed slightly, from $331,919 to $331,853

Increases

• Executive and Legislative funds increased from $115,338 to $290,338

• The Police budget saw a bump from $1,402,758 to $1,405,038

• Code Enforcement got a small increase, from $72,421 to $72,510

• Funds for the Fire Department were adjusted up slightly, from $676,053 to $676,112

• Recreation saw a significant increase, from $354,536 to $404,536

The total funds allocated for expenditures was reduced from $11,240,407 to $11,162,378. 

City Clerk Mary Cordova said allocations for pool operations account for the increase in recreation funds, as plans are under consideration to modernize admissions and security measures at the public pool.

“It’s just an idea; $50,000 for new admissions software and maybe doors,” said Cordova. “The admissions down there and passes have never been managed properly. It would help us immensely.”

According to Cordova, the software has not been upgraded since 2013 and pool guests have had to sign in on a paper log even if they are a pass holder. She said the last quote received for new software and equipment prior to 2016 was around $26,000.

Councilor Daniel Lopez suggested adding a biometric system, such as a thumb scanner, to ensure passes are used by those they are assigned to.

Mayor Jeff Williams expressed support for modernizing pool admissions, noting he has had many conversations with residents about managing the pool better.

“We need to get it approved,” Williams said, noting reserves from the 2019-20 budget are available for the pool.

Cordova said forgone monies are eliminated from the budget, but that the city would be eligible for $418,381 from the state’s public safety program.

“They say it’s going to be applied by the county to our residents’ tax bills,” said Cordova.

According to the city’s expenditure budget report, the city has a levy rate of .0076.

“The lowest rate that we have had … in years,” said Cordova.

Lopez also pointed out the city’s taxable property market value increased by 8%.

“We took out $300,000 that we had last year in the budget, this year … My only disappointment in this whole thing is I think we as a council could have done more work,” including allocating more funding for construction on River Street, he said. The $300,000 represented phase two of the River Street project, according to Cordova.

“They would have had to use foregone [money] for that project,” said Cordova in a Sept. 9 email.

Council Ray Wickersham moved to approve the appropriations as amended, with Councilor Kahlia Morin seconding. A roll call vote to approve was unanimous.

The budget will be in effect from Oct. 1, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021.

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