Residents will face three new franchise fees and an increase in a fourth franchise fee during the next fiscal year starting July 1.

The new franchise fees - which charge a percentage of a total utility bill - could bring in as much as $200,000 in additional revenue in the coming fiscal year, according to West Bountiful's tentative budget for fiscal year 1998-99.Finding additional revenue is a primary concern for West Bountiful leaders, who face a budget crunch not felt by most neighboring cities. Even with the new franchise fees, the general fund will only increase by $149,078 over the 1997-98 budget. If the city did not impose any new franchise fees, the general fund would decrease by an estimated $47,022.

Causing the greatest concern for West Bountiful is a 16 percent drop in sales tax revenue, from $766,500 in fiscal year 1997-98 to $660,000 estimated for the coming fiscal year, said West Bountiful's finance director, Greg Baker.

Residents will see the new 6 percent fees on every utility bill, which include gas, electricity and telecommunications, Baker said. The current 3 percent franchise fee on cable television will also double.

Despite the new and increased fees, Baker said West Bountiful still has the second-lowest property tax among Davis County cities, and the property tax rates have not changed in 20 years.

Even with the increased revenue from franchise fees, a number of the city's operations will be placed on cruise control during the coming year.

For one, the city will not be able to undertake any major road projects, Baker said. The city has only increased the street budget $50,000.

"We will only be able to maintain the roads and keep them from getting any worse," he said.

Nor has the city planned for any other capital projects. Some projects, such as a new city hall, have even been put out of sight of the near future, Baker said. The only major additional spending in the budget will be devoted to giving city employees a cost of living increase of about 5 percent.

Adding salt to the wounded budget has been a poor showing from other revenue sources, especially the Lakeside Golf Course. Because of the cold weather, Baker said, course play has suffered significantly.

"We see rainy days and just about cry," said West Bountiful Mayor Jim Child.

A public hearing on the budget is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 2. Prior to the hearing, the City Council or mayor will explain the necessity of the franchise fees.

Copies of the budget are available at West Bountiful City Hall, 550 N. 800 West.


Additional Information

Budget - West Bountiful

General fund: $1,709,377


General fund $1,560,299


Where it comes from:

Property tax: $275,000

Last year: $254,400

Sales tax: $660,000

Last year: $766,500

Franchise tax: $200,000

Last year: $ 4,500

Other revenues: $543,000

Last year: $534,899

Where it goes:

Public safety: $433,700

Last year: $353,590

Parks & Rec. $ 51,402

Last year: $ 47,041

Streets: $276,381

Last year: $226,866

Other: $785,184

Last year: $786,802

Tax/fee increases

City is imposing a 6% franchise tax on utilities and cable television.