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Fri, Dec. 13

City budget for new fiscal year reflects priorities

The fiscal 2004 Kingman city budget that went into effect today will be formally adopted by the City Council on Monday.

The nearly $57 million budget compares with $56 million for fiscal 2003, which ended June 30.

City Manager Roger Swenson said that because economic conditions remain uncertain, city sales tax revenue estimates remain conservative.

And, contingency funds have been budgeted for any downturn in the economy that could reduce sales tax revenue.

Swenson said the city continues capital expenditures for vehicles, street maintenance and information system upgrades.

"The budget is balanced without 'borrowing' from future years," he said.

The 2004 budget allocates the largest portion of available funds for police and fire safety, city parks and recreation opportunities and sewer, water and sanitation services.

The budget includes $5.64 million for police protection and $3.81 million for the fire department, or $9.45 million of the $21 million general fund budget.

The $5.27 million budget for community development includes the transit system, a high priority that has taken three years to bring into operation.

With buses having been purchased in the 2003 budget, the 2004 budget includes $268,000 for operation during the next 12 months.

The combined budget for parks and recreation, the Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course, the two city swimming pools, building inspections, engineering and the planning and zoning department budgets totals $5 million.

Kingman finance director Coral Loyd prepared a streamlined budget analysis that eliminated double counting and showed the $57 million budget actually is $40 million.

The difference is the transfer of money between departments for services such as computers and the vehicle maintenance.

For example, the $1.13 million budget for information systems is comprised of fund transfers from other departments.

The fleet services budget is comprised of $750,000 in fund transfers from other departments to take care of vehicles for the police, fire, public works and all other departments.

"The $40 million figure is close to expected revenues," Loyd said.

"That gave the council a better idea of resources available compared to the revenue coming in."

Most of the $40 million is accounted for by the $21 million general fund and the $17 million enterprise fund for water, sewer and sanitation services.

The enterprise fund revenue comes from water, sewer and garbage bills and pays for providing those services.

The largest part of the $21 million in general fund revenue will come from the city sales tax.

That amount is projected to increase from $8.8 million for fiscal 2003 to $9.2 million in for fiscal 2004.

That increase will offset reduction in state shared revenue, which also goes into the general fund.

State shared revenue from income taxes and sales tax is estimated to $3.4 million for fiscal 2004, compared with $3.7 million for fiscal 2003.

General fund revenue also will include an estimated $1.6 million collected for a variety of services such as business licenses, building permits, rezoning fees and other services.

The revenue side of the overall budget document includes $23 million carried over from one year to the next.

The budget has a cash flow-overlap, and accounting standards call for a prudent carry-over to be sure services can continue if revenue should end for a period.

Part of the carry-over is to pay for projects not completed during fiscal 2003, such as the East Golden Gate Improvement District.

"The city has to collect the money before it can be spent," Loyd said.

"We cannot pay bills anticipating this week's paycheck."

Another example of carry-over budget planning is the possibility that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality could require a new downtown wastewater facility.

The budget includes the estimated capital cost of a new facility that is carried over from year to year.

That fund accumulates for sewer and water expansion and repairs.

Other items budgeted by the City Council include $28,000 to assist those travelers stranded in Kingman, $10,000 for books at the county library and grant money for buildings at Kingman Aid to Abused People and Cornerstone Mission.

Loyd will give the council regular updates on revenues and expenditures during the budget year.

Formal updates are presented quarterly so the council can make adjustments that might be required by changes in revenue or emergencies.

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