Tuesday, July 27, 2021

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Williams approves two-year positive budget 

The Williams City Council approved a preliminary operating budget last month that stretches two years and does not dip into reserves like other cities and counties have had to do. 

City officials anticipate finalizing their annual spending plan of $6.2 million at a meeting later this summer. 

The bulk of the city’s revenue will be spent on water and sewer utility operations, street and building operations, police services, fire protection, and administration, city officials said at the council’s June 19 meeting. 

“It’s pretty much a status quo budget,” said City Administrator Frank Kennedy. 

The preliminary budget reflects a balanced $1.8 million general fund. Although it keeps one police officer position frozen, it adds back a full time maintenance worker, which brings the Public Works Department to the same staffing level it had in 2012. 

Williams officials anticipate revenue to increase about 1.9 percent or $83,974, although historically annual revenues have increased about 2 percent. 

Because the cost of living and expenditures go up every year, Kennedy said the city would remain realistic about what their revenue expectations are. 

In addition to the new full time position in Public Works ($77,000), the significant increases to general fund expenditures this year include the annual contribution to infrastructure payback ($100,000); vehicle replacement fund ($50,000); increased contribution to the fire protection district ($26,000), add temporary personnel for recreation ($36,000); additional budget for city facility repairs ($30,000); budget increase for utilities ($30,000).

The City Council also approved contributions to their unfunded public safety pension liabilities in the amount of $83,0000 in 2019-20 and $97,000 in 2020-21. CalPERS unfunded liability contributions for miscellaneous positions will be $25,000 this year and $29,000 next year. 

City officials said their unfunded liabilities have continued to increase over the last few years, and are dependent upon the rate of returns on CalPERS investments. 

Outside the general fund, projected revenues for the water and sewer enterprise funds take into account the scheduled increases for 2020 and 2021, officials said. 

The utility rates are scheduled to increase by 3 percent on Dec. 1, and annually thereafter based on the Consumer Price Index. 

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