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Enoch councilors hear dept. needs, wants
by Ashley Langston
Jan 25, 2012 | 241 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ENOCH – After hearing a presentation last Wednesday about city departments’ needs and wants, the city council plans to look at the budget, speak with department heads and decide whether a property tax increase is needed.

Jeremy Hansen completed a five-year needs analysis for the city as his master’s project for his degree in public administration. Hansen presented his findings to the council last week.

He said the lists compiled for each department were gathered through a combination of talking with department heads and looking at the Capital Facilities Plan.

He said that, obviously, it would be up to the council to determine what was truly a need and what was unnecessary or not achievable, but he had compiled it all so they could look at it and have a good starting point.

“I’m pleased with the results,” he said. “I worked hard on it. I hope it benefits the city.”

Water, sewer, and refuse were not included in the study, as they are separate enterprise funds that are supported by user fees and would need to be looked at separately, Hansen added.

He added that should the council decide a property tax increase was needed, they would have to go through the Truth in Taxation process, which includes public hearings. Enoch has never had to go through the process before, and the laws requiring the process were set in 1985, so in at least 26 years the city has not “raised taxes.”

Hansen pointed out that while tax rates change from year to year, those rates adjust to keep revenues approximately the same. The Truth in Taxation process is required when a government entity seeks to increase its revenues from property taxes.

For reference, he provided a chart with property tax information for Enoch and several cities of similar size, showing that while Enoch was not the lowest, it was lower than the average in property tax rates.

Department needs ranged from new computers and a new phone system to new vehicles, police department equipment and groundwater sensors to save money and water in the parks and cemetery. Also listed was a remodel of the city offices, office furniture, and a new animal shelter. A new shelter has been on the minds of city staff and the council of late, as an earlier agreement requires them to build a facility in a new location in the near future.

The most expensive item, by far, in the needs analysis is improvements to the city’s storm drain system detailed in the Capital Facilities Plan. Those improvements are estimated at more than $1.7 million.

The estimated one-time cost for all the listed items was about $3.1 million, with more than half of that price tag coming from the storm drain improvements. The yearly budget increase would be between approximately $211,000 and $252,000.

Mayor Robert Rasmussen challenged the councilors to look at the needs analysis and over the next few months and try to evaluate what the city really needs. The council decided to talk with department heads in council meetings over the coming months to identify the priorities.
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