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KC City Council approves increased budget

New housing development brings in additional funds while funding shrinks in other areas of the budget because no outside grants are forthcoming for the year

King City City Council votes unanimously to adapt a $2.6 million dollar budget for fiscal year 2006-2007 with no comments from the public at the hearing held Wednesday night, June 21.

With the number of new homes built or under construction in King City, system development charges have fattened up funds for parks while the lack of new grants coming in have thinned out money available for street repairs.

The $2,661,232 budget is a 21.4 percent increase over last year's $2,190,721 budget.

City Manager Jane Turner said the budget was balanced and had few surprises.

'The budget is pretty basic this year, no grants coming in. We've been lucky getting the two grants in past years, but they have to give them to other cities. We appreciate the share we received.'

One surprise was a small contingency fund available for emergencies if they occur. The budget committee was able to squeeze out nearly $24,000 that can be used if something unexpected happens, like the furnace goes out at City Hall.

As little as it is, Turner had expected zero for the most of the budget review process by the budget committee.

With all the new homes coming to King City, developers pay into a parks fund with System Development Charges which has increased to $334,060 from $78,287.

However, Turner points out, money in the fund can only be used for land acquisition, site improvements, landscaping and equipping parks.

King City has one city park that opened up last year by the Tualatin River and is at one end of the new Edwater on the Tualatin subdivision. The park has a playfield, tennis and basketball courts as well as a play area for kids.

Funding for street maintenance and improvements dropped substantially from $642,499 to $299,066 because there are no grants coming in from the Washington County as in previous budgets.

The two previous grants paid for resurfacing projects on Royalty Parkway and King George Drive.

In addition to park development charges, the home developers pay into a transportation improvement fund with Traffic Impact Fees.

However, that money can only be used for projects on county roads within the jurisdiction of King City. So far the city has not petitioned the County for street improvements on either Fischer Road or 131st Avenue, both county roads.

The transportation improvement fund increased from $233,048 to $629,820.

Police Budget increases

Under last year's budget the King City Police Department was able to hire two new police officers for the force bringing the department's total to four patrol officers to cover King City, but not enough to have them on the streets for all hours, seven days a week.

The department has increased patrol activity and training of its officers.

'The department has experienced stability as well as increased its productivity by aggressively addressing traffic problems and focusing on crimes such as fraud, identity theft and drugs,' said Police Chief Chuck Fessler.

The police budget increased from $491,302 last to $582,981 this year.

The budget committee and the Council accepted all the requests the department asked for the next year including:

a part-time records clerk

Increased overtime pay to address the need for additional time spent in court and cover the accumulated vacation and training time by the patrol officers.

Allocations for computer support for the three major systems the department now use in conjunction with the other agencies in the area

CERT training program

Tazer program to acquire and train patrol officers in the use of the less than lethal device for subduing persons out of control and endangering residents.

The department also asked for money to replace the ballistic vest officers use to protect themselves and a uniform with accessories to start up the bicycle patrol again.

In addition the budget provides for the purchase of an ammunition storage locker, furniture replacement, lock and door replacement to secure police department space in City Hall, training equipment, a property/evidence control system, flashlight replacement and an air-conditioner for the computer equipment room.

The department was also able to purchase the sought after 'speed trailer,' a device that when parked on a city street will show the speed of an approaching car using radar.

These devices are used to help curtail speeding above posted limits on a street and it has been shown to be effective in slowing down drivers.

The speed trailer was purchased mainly using grants obtained by Chief Fessler. The City plans to add on a feature that will aid traffic study by recording the number of cars passing its location as well as the speed of each vehicle for traffic analysis.

The police chief in previous years was working under contract to the city, but this year Chief Fessler will be on salary to the city. He also received a cost of living raise.

All personal have received cost of living raises for the new fiscal year. There are seven full-time employees working at City Hall.

In a little over two years, the costs of street lighting has risen from $14,000 to over $40,000 to pay for electricity, lights and poles for new streets in developing areas.

The City Council is looking into forming a lighting district to help offset those additional costs.

The City Budget as approved is available at City Hall for anyone to read and analyze at their discretion. City Hall hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except one hour from noon for lunch and is closed for standard holidays. For more information call City Hall, 503-639-4082.