Many cities throughout the country would love to be in Provo City's shoes: Provo has some extra cash floating around.
For the first time in three years, the city has enough money to fund some capital improvement projects, Mayor Joe Jenkins told council members at this week's council study meeting.When Jenkins took over the city's reins in 1986, he faced a budget with "a horrible shortfall," a deficit of more than $1 million. To remedy the situation, the administration laid off some city employees and borrowed some money to stay afloat.
Times have changed, thanks to a tremendous amount of economic development in the city and more efficient operations, Jenkins said. Provo now has $731,500 in excess funds in the general fund balance.
The city plans to stretch its dollars and spend the money on a number of projects. The Engineering Department will use $30,000 to install a stoplight at 650 East 2230 North.
The Parks Department will spend $53,000 for irrigation projects at North and Pioneer Parks, a vegetation project at the Grandview Hill, Great Western Trail road improvements, Pioneer Park bandstand refurbishing and for golf course cart path repairs.
The Personnel Department will receive $40,000 for a compensation study and the Economic Development Department will use $18,000 to help put the Freedom Festival budget in the black. Jenkins said the city will do so by making the festival's projects specialist part of the Economic Development Department.
The Legal Department will get $13,500 to pay for additional attorney fees. The Police and Fire Departments will get $22,000 and $20,000 respectively to replace defective equipment.
Provo's vehicle management fund will get a $85,000 boost, which will pay for a forklift as well as purchase and install a citywide fuel tank in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency requirements.
The city's self-insured retention reserve will get $100,000 and the capital replacement fund will get $150,000 to establish a reserve.
Another $200,000 will be returned to the water fund to pay back money the city borrowed in 1986 to balance the 1986-87 budget. Those funds will be used to install water laterals on Third South, Center Street and University Avenue before the Utah Department of Transportation begins road construction.
During this week's meeting, the council also agreed to spend an additional $300,000 for development of the Provo Parks and Recreation softball quadruplex to be completed in 1990. The complex will be located at approximately 1150 S. 11th West, an area known as Footprinters Park.
The funding for the quadruplex comes from an agreement the city made with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1983. The church agreed to build a softball complex in the 48th North park when it bought part of the property from the city. Since development never happened at the park, the city decided to put the money - $213,000 - into the softball quadruplex.
Another $77,000 comes from an out-of-court settlement the city made with the state and a contractor over the construction of a cofferdam (a temporary structure to keep water out of an enclosed area so construction can be done).
The cofferdam was built on the east side of I-15 at the East Bay Golf Course so the contractor could extend the culvert under the freeway during a high water year.
Once construction was finished, the city had some problems with flooding at the golf course and later discovered that the cofferdams had only been partially removed and were backing up water onto the golf course.
With the additional $300,000 for the quadruplex, total proposed appropriations for the city amounts to a little more than $1 million. A public hearing on the appropriations will be held Mar. 28.
"We still expect in the budget process to have the funds we need and to continue to have a surplus for any emergencies that come down the line," Jenkins said.