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SEQUIM – The Sequim City Council approved the 2016 budget at the November 23, 2015 City Council Meeting. Highlights of the budget include:
Balanced BudgetThe budget reflects balanced revenues and expenses with anticipated General Fund revenues at $8,849,318 and General Fund expenses at $8,833,148.
Additional Support for Streets and EquipmentImprovement in economic activity is reflected conservatively in the budget. These additional resources will be utilized to improve support for street operations, equipment and replacement reserves, and to fund debt services and centralized General Fund services to a greater degree.Debt service on the bonds for the new Civic Center continues for the second year, but without the burden of rent for office facilities. Also, the debt for the purchase of Keeler Park will be paid off in 2016.
StaffingOverall staffing is reduced by a .75 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee. The budget incorporates current union contracts, and the projected increases in health benefit costs and contributions to retirement plans. It also incorporates the reduction in overall Labor and Industry (L & I) rates for the City.
Utility RatesWater Utility rates have been adjusted up 3% and Sewer Utility rates have been adjusted up 2.5% to meet the increase in revenue of 4% recommended in the 2013 rate study. For a household using 1,000 cubic feet of water per month, their sewer bill will increase $1.72 per month and their water bill will increase by $1.12 per month for a household total of $3.89. The study indicates the annual adjustment is important to maintain financial health of the utility operatons as well as to meet the current and future debt levels and to maintain target reserves.
Low Income DiscountThe budget includes the continuation of a low income discount policy which reduces utility bills for those who qualify. Applications are due January 15, 2016 and are available at the Civic Center, DSHS, Sequim Community Aid, St. Vincent de Paul, Serenity House, United Way, Sequim Senior Center, and on the City’s website www.sequimwa.gov. Please call the City of Sequim Finance Department at (360) 683-4139 with questions.
Property TaxThe 2016 budget includeds the 1% property tax increase allowed by law. This results in an estimated $3 annual property tax increase on a $200,000 home for the City’s portion of the tax. The actual change in property tax will be relative to the assessed home value and is dependent on the actions of other taxing districts in Clallam County.
Capital ProjectsIn addition to Water and Sewer projects, the City will continue to work on street pavement rehabilitation, will complete the street light conversion to energy saving Light Emitting Diode (LED) units, and make upgrades to the City Shop facilities. Improvements to the Guy Cole Convention Center at Carrie Blake Park will be funded by Lodging Tax and a $450,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce Community and Capital Facilities program. Other park improvements include additional parking to support the Albert Haller Playfields and the development of pickleball courts.
To view the complete City of Sequim 2016 budget, visit the City’s website www.sequimwa.gov. Please contact the City Finance Department at (360) 683-4139 with questions.