The city proposes a record $16 million budget for 1998-99 that contains no tax or fee increases. Surprisingly, in fact, it includes a 75-cent-per-month decrease in sewer fees.

The new fiscal year budget is up 9.9 percent over the previous year. It will be voted on in final form after a budget hearing set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 437 N. Wasatch Drive."The city is in good financial health," City Manager Alex Jensen said in his annual budget message. "Economic indicators are not as strong as two years ago, but conditions continue to be good in Utah and the Intermountain Region."

He said Layton's commercial activity is continuing to increase, though only at about half the growth rate compared with the last five years.

Sales tax revenue for the current year is $7.3 million, with $7.7 million projected in the new budget. Sales taxes provide 27 percent of total city revenues, with only service fees higher at 29 percent.

City finance director Steve Ashby said the decrease in sewer fees from $10.50 to $9.75 a month (effective July 1) is the first reduction in any city fee that he's aware of in at least the past 11 years.

The city had expected the worst in sewer maintenance costs a few years ago.

"They (the lines) weren't nearly as bad as we expected," Ashby said.

Mayor Jerry Stevenson said another highlight in city finances is that the city has paid off its swimming pool debt (Surf 'N Swim). The $895,000 bonds, issued in 1985, normally would not have been retired until 2005.

However, the city was frugal and saved residents $204,000 in interest costs with early payoff.

"You don't see this very often in government," Stevenson said. "Government usually seems to go the other way."

The new budget also includes $100,000 to resurface and retile the Surf 'N Swim pool and its smaller outdoor swimming pool. That funding is desperately needed, considering the current Surf 'N Swim pool's surface is crumbling.

The city will also be hiring 12 new full-time city employees during 1998-99. That includes nine new firefighters to staff the new west Layton fire station that opens in June. The new employees will give the city a full-time staff of 195 workers.

The city is also hiring one new police officer, another building inspector and a parks and recreation employee. In addition, the city is adding one new part-time position and upgrading five jobs from part- to full-time.

To man the new fire station, the city is adding six paid-on-call positions for firefighters, too. All the new employees are needed to keep up with the workload caused by growth in the city.

For road work, the city has appropriated $88,000 to pave 700 West between the Layton Mall area and Antelope Drive.

The city has budgeted $190,000 for video cameras in police vehicles; $65,000 to remodel the aging Fort Lane fire station; $200,000 to upgrade sewer lines in the Vae View and Holt subdivisions; $200,000 for the Heritage Museum expansion and $15,000 to begin the engineering for the Kays Creek Trail.

For other significant road projects during 1998-99, portions of South Fort Lane, Cherry Lane, East Gentile, Golden Avenue, Rainbow Drive and Golden Avenue all are funded for major work.

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Additional Information

Budget - Layton

General fund: $16.6 million

1998-99

General fund $15.9 million

1997-98

Where it comes from:

Property tax: $3.3 million

Last year: $3.2 million

Sales tax: $7.7 million

Last year: $7.3 million

Franchise tax: $1.5 million

Last year: $1.4 million

Permits, licenses: $1.1 million

Last year: $1.1 million

Other revenues: $2.5 million

Last year: $3.3 million

Where it goes:

Police: $4.6 million

Last year: $4.4 million

Fire: $2.1 million

Last year: $1.8 million

Parks and rec.: $2.3 million

Last year: $2.8 million

Streets: $1.3 million

Last year: $1.2 million

Community devel.: $ 814,000

Last year: $ 800,000

Administration: $1.1 million

Last year: $1 million

Tax/fee increases:

Decrease in monthly sewer fee rate by 75 cents.