By Myrna Trauntvein
All municipal budgets are to be completed by June 22, but the Nephi City budget was adopted for 2019 two weeks early.
“This is a cushion of time,” said Seth Atkinson, city administrator.
“It is like getting a job done early,” said Kasey Wright, city attorney.
In other words, the council can be happy that the city is ahead of the schedule.
In order to complete the Nephi City budget process, final approval of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget and the amended FY 2018 budget was needed.
On Tuesday, June 5, the Nephi City Council passed the final budget and the amended budget with a unanimous vote.
“We appreciate all the number crunching and background work that has gone into creating the 2019 budget,” said Glade Nielson, mayor.
Nathan Memmott, council member, said that he also appreciated the hard work that had been done by Atkinson and by Lisa Brough, finance director.
“On May 1, the city’s tentative budget was first introduced,” said Atkinson.
On May 15, the city council held public hearings for the tentative budget, the city’s transfers from the enterprise funds to the general fund, and the amended budget for Fiscal Year 2018.
In addition, the city’s certified property tax rate also needed to be approved.
“The certified tax rates are not yet available from the state; however, it is anticipated that the property tax rate will be available for certification at the second meeting in June,” said Atkinson. “It will be added to the city’s budget document at that time.”
The city’s budget document is available online by accessing the city’s website: http://nephi.utah.gov/293/Budget-2018-19.
Those who go to the site will find that the city deals with a total budget of $34,075,706.
The general fund was approved at $4,435,889; capital project funds at $4,689,884; water and sewer fund at $10,800.096; the electric fund at $8,324,119; the natural gas fund at $5,247,901; the solid waste fund at $413,748; and the industrial development agency at $164,069. All of those end up being the total budget.
By state law, all expenditures in the various funds must match the revenues in that fund.
The fact that the budget was early and was all online had “helped cater to my inner nerdiness,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson said that he would like to point out a change that had been made.
There had been $11,000 extra in interest which had not been planned. He had thought that it might be used to go toward the victims’ advocate program, the purchase of the flowers and flower baskets or master plans.
“I would like to see the extra funding go toward finishing the lights on Main Street,” said Memmott. “If we have revenue that is not planned for I would like to see it used there.”
Both Kent Jones and Skip Worwood, council members, said they would like to see the project done, as well.
“It is $8,000 a light and there are eight of them” said Atkinson.
There might be more money coming to the city through sales tax and highway taxes.
“The city council’s prioritized outcomes are stated in the first page of the Budget Document under the Budget Message,” said Atkinson. “They are also found within the narrative sections on each department’s budget page.”
Some of the main prioritized outcomes are: construct a new public works facility; street Improvements for new subdivisions; bridge replacement/repair plan; part-time assistant at the police department; children’s librarian; golf course improvements and equipment purchases; design for a cremation garden in the Vine Bluff Cemetery; improvements for the signs at the freeway exits; a new employee in the water/sewer department; installation of crash protection on the natural gas system block valves; an additional connection for natural gas system; and electric yard security improvements.
“The public works building construction is a carryover priority from the prior fiscal year,” said Atkinson. “Identifying a viable funding source has taken some time.”
The city public works director/city engineer has spent many hours putting together plans for the facility so that those plans can be used in the grant/loan funding process from the Community Impact Board (CIB).
“The application has now been submitted for the October 2018 funding cycle,” said Atkinson.
As for the proposal for street improvements for new subdivisions, funding has been set aside in the Capital Projects Fund to upgrade or expand the street connections for new subdivisions.
Atkinson said that the staff will put together a plan on which of the bridges in the city need to be replaced or repaired. In the plan, the costs will be estimated and priorities will be set based on safety, price and location.
There are several new employees needed. One of those is a part-time assistant at the police department and another is a children’s librarian for the city library. A new employee is also needed in the water/sewer department.
“Additional equipment will be purchased for golf course maintenance and improvement work will continue on the silo and sign,” said Atkinson.
A design will be made for a cremation garden at the Vine Bluffs Cemetery.
The council wanted to see improvements made for the signs at the freeway exits so that they were, once again, points of beauty, and that project was included.
“We want to see work done on the signs at the city entrances,” said Justin Seely, council member, “so they are more eye-appealing.”
It is also planned to install crash protection on the natural gas system block valves.
The city has identified the need for an additional connection for the natural gas system.
“In order to provide redundancy in the system, as well as additional gas for growth purposes, Nephi City will propose to the Juab Rural Development Agency Board an additional gas connection to Dominion Energy’s transportation system,” said Atkinson.
Debt financing is part of the budget, as well.
“In order to fund the public works facility, a loan and grant application has been submitted to the CIB,” Atkinson said. “The amount of the loan won’t be known until the CIB has determined the grant portion.”
The Budget Document also contains a page showing items that will be amended in the current budget cycle.
“An increase in building activity has necessitated an increase in both the revenue and expenditure budget for the building inspector,” he said. “Also, revenues for other growth related items are expected to be above the budgeted totals.”
An interfund loan was used to fund equipment purchases in the streets, parks, and cemetery departments. Both the loan proceeds and the equipment purchases require a budget adjustment.
There was a small error in the solid waste dividend transfer fund to the General Fund and those line item adjustments are shown as well.
Atkinson said that a letter had been sent to all residents informing them that Nephi City operates several utilities (enterprise funds) in addition to the traditional functions of local government operated by the city’s general fund.
“We will send another letter to all residents with their utility bills,” said Atkinson.