Port Townsend council to mull budget that reflects growth

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend City Council will consider adopting a 2017 budget that reflects continued growth in the city when it meets tonight.

The council will conduct a public hearing, taking public comment before considering final approval of the proposed budget at the meeting that will begin at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at historic City Hall, 540 Water St.

While the budget was presented for a first reading Nov. 14, City Manager David Timmons noted that a budget isn’t necessarily “cast in stone.”

“This is a process documents and should be thought of that way,” Timmons said. “That’s the way budgets work.”

The council specifically will discuss the general fund, which is expected to grow by 10.5 percent from 2016.

The 2017 budget will account for higher than predicted growth in Port Townsend, according to Timmons.

In 2015, the city predicted that sales tax revenues would increase by 7.6 percent. Now, nearing the end of the year, that growth is looking to be about 17 percent, according to Timmon’s 2016 budget overview.

The 2017 budget also will include projects that will carry over from 2016 including the new Grant Street Elementary School, according to the 2017 budget overview, which was presented during the Nov. 14 meeting.

The 2017 fund summary stated that the city is expecting most of its revenue from the property tax levy, retail sales taxes, utility tax, state revenue, lodging taxes, overhead cost recovery, utilities and capital revenue. Combined with that is a predicted $40,156,754 in revenue in 2017.

Major expenses for 2017 are predicted to be $38,698,183 and will come from compensating city staff; higher new positions at the pool, police station and in public works; non-labor expenses such as insurance and city equipment; and capital projects such as the Howard Street Extension, a pedestrian walkway on state Highway 20 and improvements to the library, according to the 2017 fund summary.

The 2016 budget is predicted to balance at $10,660,619. The expected balance for 2017 would be $12,119,190.

On Nov. 14, the council decided to make some changes — specifically in code enforcement — and will review the budget again tonight.

A summary of the general fund will be handed out during tonight’s meeting and can be found online at http://cityofpt.us/, attached to the agenda for tonight’s meeting.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected].

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