Water rate hike in mayor’s budget

Mayor Dewey Bartlett has proposed a budget for the next fiscal year that includes another hike in water and sewer fees and a reduction in mowing and nuisance abatement.

The City Council must approve a budget by July 1.

Bartlett’s proposal for the general fund is $638,600,000.00. The proposed capital improvements fund is $125,300,000.00 – 12 percent higher than this year.

Bartlett’s budget predicts a 0.2 percent decline in sales tax revenue but it gets a boost from the $884,100,000.00 sales tax increase Bartlett and the City Council promoted that was passed by the voters.

The proposed capital improvements budget, the fund used to finance capital needs, is $125.3 million, an increase of 12 percent from last year.

The budget includes cutting three staff positions and not filling 56 positions that have not been staffed during the current hiring freeze. There are no raises in the budget.

The budget also reduces the mowing cycle for public right-of-ways from eight to five times – leaving as much as a two-month gap between mowings.