Thank heavens for the Freeport Center. That's what city officials are saying after putting together the 1998-99 proposed budget that includes a 12.5 percent increase in the general fund.

City Manager Jack Bippes said the Freeport Center contributes 60 percent of all city revenues. That amount is at an all-time high."This is quite a budget for Clearfield City because of our growth," Councilman Garr Roundy said. "It's exciting for us."

"And it's a balanced budget," Mayor Thomas Waggoner added.

Property taxes will not rise under the proposal, butthe montly fee for garbage collection rose from $5.24 to $5.35 July 1.

Although there isn't a property tax increase for households, the city is looking to capture all the revenue possible from new growth. As required by law, the city must hold a public hearing on its final budget proposal, scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Aug. 11.

Bippes said he's being conservative with the budget and isn't counting on any increase in sales tax revenues. Still, the addition of a new Winegar's grocery store to Clearfield's west side could add more than $60,000 to the city's coffers in the coming fiscal year.

The city expects to add $200,000 in revenue this year because of new growth from its building permit fees and also its electrical and plumbing permit fees.

Another healthy sign is in franchise fees, up $175,000 from the current year.

Bippes said the city is adding two new full-time employees, one new police officer to work at Clearfield High and one new maintenance worker. In addition, one employee in the city shops is being elevated from part- to full-time status.

In big capital expenditures, Clearfield is adding another $350,000 to the $420,000 the public works department has already saved to convert the city to a radio frequency water meter reading system. Though initially costly, public works director Scott Hodge believes it will save the city much in the long run after it is paid for. Savings will come in reduced labor costs.

Clearfield's new budget also contains $200,000 for new emergency communications and $48,000 for the new communications frequency switchover, as required by the Federal Communications Commission.

The city is also purchasing four new police cars ($92,000), a pickup truck for the parks department ($26,500) and one flat-bed truck for public works ($25,000).

In addition, the new budget contains $25,000 for a long-awaited privacy fence on the south side of the city's cemetery and $250 for a convenient diaper changing station at the Clearfield municipal pool.

Bippes also said while it is difficult to compare Clearfield's budget with those of other cities, he did a comparison based on last year's information.

He said he found Clearfield fared very favorably in most areas. For example, the city's 94 full-time employees means it is well below the Utah average in city workers per thousand population. It also excels in franchise tax colleted and in the effectiveness of its enterprise fund.

Sales tax revenue is where Bippes would like an improvement.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Budget: Clearfield

General fund: $9.3 million

1998-99

General fund: $8.3 million

1997-98

Where it comes from:

Property tax $1.6 million

Last year $1.5 million

Sales tax $2.3 million

Last year $2.3 million

Franchise tax $1.4 million

Last year $1.2 million

Permits, licenses $440,000

Last year $240,000

Other revenues $3.5 million

Last year $3.3 million

Where it goes:

Police $2 million

Last year $1.9 million

Fire $815,000

Last year $783,000

Emergency operations $1 million

Last year $825,000

Legislative/courts $1.3 million

Last year $1.2 million

Parks and rec. $1.4 million

Last year $1.2 million

Streets $569,000

Last year $498,000

Shops $175,000

Last year $240,000

Community/economic dev. $100,000

Last year $89,000

Building inspections $231,000

Last year $250,000

Building maint. $191,000

Last year $128,000

Tax / fee increases:

Garbage collection fee went up from $5.24 per month to $5.35 per month July 1.