Scappoose unveils $20 million budget

Budget largest ever and reflects growth of city

Members of the Scappoose City Council this week received the biggest budget in the history of the city.

On Monday, City Manager Jon Hanken delivered his 2008-2009 budget message to the council. The budget weighed in at $19,856,666, the largest city budget ever.

Personnel services in the proposed budget are $3,214,505; and represent an increase of $186,954 over the previous year's budget. Hanken said the increases are due to employee step increases, additional personnel, including a second sergeant's position in the Police Department, and employee benefits. Health insurance costs will increase by 10 percent and represent the largest portion of benefit cost increases. Employees currently pay 6 percent of their health insurance costs.

Expenditures within the general fund are budgeted at $3,690,267. The Administration Department accounts for 17 percent of general fund expenditures; police, 46 percent; parks, 5 percent; Municipal Court, 7 percent; planning, 5 percent; and non-departmental transfers, 10 percent. All departmental costs have increased this year in part due to increased costs of labor, materials and services.

The budget places $377,363 in a contingency line item and $1,100,000 in an 'unappropriated ending fund balance' line item. Unappropriated fund balances cannot be used in this budget year unless there is an emergency as described by Oregon law.

According to Hanken, the general fund budget is in pretty good shape, but isn't as strong as last year's budget. Hanken said money has been transferred from the general fund into other budget category funds.

The Scappoose Veterans Park remains a top priority in this budget, as it was last year. The proposed budget transfers $200,000 general fund dollars into the Scappoose Municipal Park Fund for park construction. The total amount dedicated to this fund is $1,348,734.

Hanken recommended an incremental increase in sewer and water rates to avoid larger increases in the future. He also recommended a monthly billing cycle for water and sewer customers.

The budget for the Water Department is the largest in the city, surpassing $3 million.

The Wastewater Department has a projected budget of $1,549,711.

The street fund anticipates resources of $869,581, and this includes a transfer from the general fund of $100,000 to be used to help fund the Elm Street improvement project.

The Budget Committee will meet on May 12, 13 and 20, at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall.