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Gaston, Banks councils pass budgets

Police contract, water utility costs on the increase

The cities of Gaston and Banks passed their respective budgets during council meetings last week.

Here are some high points from Gaston’s $1.1 million budget:

n Insurance costs are expected to increase by 26 percent.

n General fund reserve expenses were projected at $5,000, about half as much as last year. This fund helps with building maintenance and repair and vehicle purchases. Last year’s budget funded repairs to city hall, including painting, a new front desk and ceiling restorations.

n The water-utility rates, which are self-supporting and are also used to pay bond debt related to water-system upkeep, increased by 10 percent, which has been typical for the last few years.

n The water repair and maintenance fund stayed almost the same, hovering around $33,500.

n The contract for police work through the Washington County Sheriff’s Office increased by about $2,000, bringing the cost almost up to $124,500. The 2014-15 contract has increased $12,000 since the 2011-12 contract. 

Banks City Manager and Budget Officer Jolynn Becker said the city’s $4.3 million budget remains pretty steady with few significant changes from last year.

Here are some high points:

n The budget increased slightly from last year’s $3.9 million budget.

n It reflects a staff-wide cost-of-living pay increase of 1.5 percent, which comes to about $5,200 overall.

n Water rates increased by four percent this year as a continuation of the automatic cost-of-living adjustments. Water rates have increased the last five years.

n The city set aside more money than last year — about $40,000 — to help with long-term preventative maintenance of its Carstens Reservoir tanks, including hiring divers to inspect the tanks.

n Phase two of the library renovation and expansion project is not included in the library budget because city and library leaders are currently working to raise funds and identify grant opportunities to support the design plan.


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