$21.7 million city budget moving on to City Council

Sean C Morgan

The City of Sweet Home Budget Committee last week approved the city’s proposed budget for 2018-19.

The approved budget document now goes to the City Council for adoption this month following publication of a budget summary and a public hearing. Upon adoption, it will take effect July 1.

The committee approved the budget with few changes from the proposed budget. The committee previously had rejected a proposal to partially fund the police chief from the General Fund but increased to 100 percent funding for the community relations officer, now called the communications officer, to the General Fund.

That move freed up some $77,000 in the General Fund, from which the committee sent $40,000 to bolster street maintenance and improvements.

The committee made that adjustment and approved the budget during its meeting on May 30.

Overall, the approved budget totals $21.7 million, $36,000 less than 2017-18. The total includes transfers among funds and ending fund balances, which are carried forward to the following year. Not counting transfers and ending fund balances, the city is budgeting $13.1 million in expenditures, down from $17.9 million budgeted for 2017-18, but up from $9.8 million in actual spending in 2016-17.

Public Works

The Budget Committee reviewed Public Works funds last week.

Overall, Public Works Director Greg Springman said he has made some changes in the department. The staff engineer has moved to the Community and Economic Development Department, and a street maintenance position that has been unfilled has been cut from the budget, while a new maintenance superintendent position is in the new budget.

A wastewater collections position has been unfilled but will remain authorized in the 2018-19 budget. Those funds have been used to pay for temporary employees as needed for projects.

“We’re going to try to do more with less,” Springman said.

The total expense across all Public Works budgets is $6.4 million, and the department has 16.7 full-time equivalents for 2018-19.


Among Public Works funds, the city will spend some $466,000 in parks in 2018-19, a $21,000 increase over this year when the city added a parks crew leader to the Public Works Department and a $349,000 increase over actual 2016-17 spending.

Projects slated for 2017-18 include ongoing improvements at Sankey Park, including the construction of a new foot bridge linking the park to the Jim Riggs Community Center and new restrooms.

The majority of revenues are derived from the General Fund.

Springman said the budget includes parking and projects at other parks as well.

The city maintains six parks, including the skate park, along with the Hobart Natural Area.


Water system expenditures are budgeted at $2.4 million, a $200,000 decrease from the 2017-18 budget but a $570,000 over actual expenses in 2016-17. Revenues are projected at about $60,000 less in the budget document. The budget projects $4 million in beginning fund balances and user fees.

User fees fall a little more than $60,000 shy of paying the anticipated cost of water production, and the city council will consider whether to adopt new rates this month. The City Council has voted to approve new rates, but the decision is unofficial until formally adopting them in the form of a resolution.

The budget includes up to $100,000 to investigate and repair leaks in the water system. Springman said one of the city’s 10th Avenue reservoirs is leaking, and it will need to be drained at some point to locate and evaluate the problem.

The reservoir is losing five to 10 gallons per minute right now, Springman said, and that represents half of the city’s estimate for water loss throughout the system.

Reducing the losses will substantially curb the costs associated with water treatment, he said.

The budget also includes a new booster station for Boulder Ridge for up to $60,000 to increase water pressure in the area and $250,000 for new meters along Elm Street from 14th to Mountain View.


The city is planning to spend $2.8 million in wastewater in 2018-19, a decrease from a budgeted $6.3 million in 2017-18, which included more than $3.3 million in capital projects. It is a $700,000 increase over actual expenses in 2016-17. It is budgeting approximately $7.7 million in beginning fund balances and user fees, much of which will be reserved to help pay for upgrades at the Wastewater Treatment Plant in coming years.

The city will spend nearly $790,000 on initial design work for the upgrades.

Storm Water

The storm water budget increases from $66,000 to $126,000 in expenditures, with a project planned to address drainage issues in the area of 38th and Long. The budget includes approximately $290,000 in user fees and beginning fund balances.


The budget sets aside $225,000 for a street overlay on 18th Avenue south of Highway 20; $140,000 in road maintenance in the area of 47th, 48th, 49th and Kalmia streets; and $300,000 to build sidewalks, with some funding from the Oregon Department of Transportation, along Highway 20 on the east end of the city.

Total expenditures in streets will be $1.2 million for these projects and maintenance across the city, a decrease from a budgeted $1.8 million in 2017-18 and an increase from an actual expense of $452,000 in 2016-17. Street funds will receive some $672,000 primarily from the state gas tax. Overall, the street funds include $2.2 million in beginning fund balances and tax revenue.

City Councilor Diane Gerson asked Springman if an additional $40,000 for street maintenance would be helpful, and the committee agreed to increase the overall street budget by that much using General Fund money.

Community and Economic


The Community and Economic Development Department is budgeted at $1.1 million, $83,000 more than last year.

Actual expenditures by the end of April were falling short of last year’s budgeted espenses at just $340,000. The budget incorporated but did not fill a code enforcement position in the current budget, 2017-18. Director Jerry Sorte said that he anticipates filling the code enforcement position this month.

It also included more than $400,000 dedicated to economic development that is carrying over into the 2018-19 fiscal year. A new commercial exterior improvement program will begin using some of those funds.

Funding is derived from the General Fund with approximately $470,000 and the Economic Development Fund.


The Finance Department will spend $710,000 in 2018-19, down from a budgeted $730,000 in 2017-18. Funding is derived from the General Fund.

Among staffing changes, the budget creates a Municipal Court administrator position while reducing two court clerks from full-time to .6 full-time equivalents at their request.

Attending the budget meeting and voting to approve the budget were Bob Briana, Susan Coleman, Diane Gerson, Lisa Gourley, Dave Trask, Derek Dix, Dave Holley, Dave Jurney and Gerritt Schaffer. Absent were Mayor Greg Mahler, James Goble and Kenneth Hamlin.

The Budget Committee consists of the City Council and five members of the public. Councilors are Briana, Coleman, Gerson, Goble, Gourley, Mahler and Trask.