IDAHO FALLS -- The Idaho Falls City Council tentatively approved the fiscal 2022/2023 budget last Thursday night during their regularly scheduled City Council meeting.
The tentative budget focuses on advancing the needs of a growing community and continuing to provide essential services for residents. The not to exceed budget outlines how $333,416,302 will be allocated among the City's 11 departments with six enterprise funds.
Knowing the strain inflation has placed on everyone, the Mayor directed City General Fund Departments to submit flat operational budgets. Additionally, while totals from the county are being verified and analyzed to determine final levy rate numbers, it is expected that city residents may actually see a levy rate decrease as a result of the proposed 2022/2023 budget.
"Though we always have many projects that require funding, equipment to be updated or replaced, as well as public facilities and other infrastructure that needs to be repaired and maintained, we all agreed that the focus this year was going to be on the community," said Mayor Rebecca Casper.
The budget that was submitted to the City Council in June, reflected these priorities. The Mayor and department directors opted to postpone many projects and optional spending in order to maintain current service levels.
The proposed budget includes revenue from new development as well a statutory 3% increase for a whole dollar amount of $1,334,420. This allows the City to continue to provide services during a time of growth as well as inflation that has increased the cost of fuel, equipment, materials and other items required to maintain city operations.
Funding for a significant proportion of the budget does not come from property taxes, but from utility payments, fees, and other governmental sources. The proposed property tax request is $42.7 million—roughly 13% of the total. Utility and Airport revenues comprise an additional $165.1 million or 49%. The remaining 38% comes from capital project/improvement funds of $41 million, Governmental operating revenue of $32.1 million, special revenue funds of $28.5 million, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and contingency funds for $24 million.
"The ARPA funds are making a real difference this year," said City Council President Michelle Ziel-Dingman. "They are allowing the city to work on projects and make expenditures that move the City forward in a lean budget year where residents expect the City to use these dollars wisely after experiencing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The City received approximately $10 million in funding from ARPA passed by Congress last December.
This upcoming 2022/2023 is also the first year impact fees collected from new construction will be implemented into the budget. In fiscal year 2023, the City estimates it will receive $4.6 million in impact fees.
"I think impact fees have a significant ability to offset future budgets so that growth is going to be paying for growth," said Council Member Lisa Burtenshaw. "Impact fees will take some of the pressure off the City's property taxpayers."
Impact fees will cover some of the costs associated with providing city services to new residents. Before impact fees, the cost of growth was paid for with property taxes.
The City Council is set to consider the final budget on Aug. 25 after a public hearing on Aug. 11. After final approval, the budget will be submitted to Bonneville County Officials for certification in early September.
The City of Idaho Falls values public participation in the budget process and encourages public input at the public hearing.
The following is a timeline of key dates during the budget process: The budget was scheduled for publication on July 31, 2022, and Aug. 7, 2022, followed by the public hearing on Aug. 11, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. in the Idaho Falls City Council Chambers located at 680 Park Avenue in Idaho Falls.
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Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer Eric Grossarth at (208) 612-8562 or [email protected]