Banks plan up slightly; Gastons budget down a bit

Banks and Gaston city councilors approved 2013-2014 budgets at their respective meetings last week.

Banks’ budget total is about $4 million, up from last year’s $3.3 million. More than $500,000 of that increase is connected to further expansion of the Banks Library, said Jolynn Becker, the city’s interim city manager and budget officer.

The city is applying for more than $538,000 in grants and donations for phase two of the library project. None of that money is assured, so the budget numbers are very rough, said Banks Library Director Denise Holmes. And construction is unlikely to start this fiscal year. But the city is “preparing to receive funding if it becomes available,” Holmes said.

The plans are still preliminary and dependent on grants, but would include a new multi-use community room. Becker said city staff also applied — and budgeted — for a State of Oregon Transportation and Growth Management grant of $86,500 to help fund the creation of a master plan for bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

The city also budgeted for a city manager search, which Becker said they will revisit in July. Otherwise, Becker said, city revenues and expenses are pretty much staying the same as last year.

Gaston city councilors approved their proposed budget of $949,291, slightly down from last year’s budget of just more than $1 million. According to Gaston City Recorder Wenonah Blanchette, last year’s higher number reflected improvements to city hall — flooring, painting, heating and cooling — and to Highway 47, including new sidewalks, bump-outs and flashing yellow crosswalk lights.

Offsetting the decrease in capital-project spending, Gaston’s police-services contract with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office did see an increase due to increased sheriff’s expenses, Blanchette said. Last year, Gaston paid $103,321 for police services and this year it will pay $116,468.

Gaston residents’ water bills won’t increase as in previous years because the city of Hillsboro, Gaston’s water supplier, did not increase the price by 10 percent as it has the past few years.

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