Anticipating a boost in the city's sales tax revenue, the Farmington City Council approved a budget for next year that includes a small property tax cut.
A new shopping center, including a Smith's "super store," is scheduled to open in Farmington this month, and city officials are expecting it to generate $75,000 in sales tax revenue in the next budget year.And that figure, City Manager Max Forbush said, is conservative. Forbush said Smith's corporate executives declined to give him an annual sales estimate for the store on which to base more accurate figures but did confirm the city could expect at least $75,000 in sales tax revenue over the next year.
City Councilman Don White said that projects to only about $13 million in annual sales, which he said is low. "They wouldn't even open a store based on $13 million a year," said White.
Forbush said the new budget provides for a small decrease in the city's property tax rate and municipal building debt service tax rate, the assessment used to pay off the city hall built in 1983.
"It's not a big cut, it's only a few dollars to the individual homeowner, but it's still a cut," said Forbush. The politicians like to call it `holding the line'."
No increases in any of the city's other taxes or services rates, such as the franchise tax and water, sewer, and garbage rates, are budgeted either, Forbush said.
Growth is still expected to raise the overall revenue the city will receive from its property tax, however, to $272,000 in the next fiscal year, up from last year's $269,000.
The city's total budget for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, is $1.3 million.
The budget includes no new city employees, Forbush said, but does grant about a 2 percent pay increase to Farmington workers, which he said is within range of increases being given in other communities.
Before passing the budget for the upcoming year, the council had to make some adjustments in the current year's budget, mostly to cover the city's share of costs for a major curb, gutter, and sidewalk construction project under way.
The council set up numerous special improvement districts around the city's central core area last spring to install curb, gutter, and sidewalk, providing for property owners to pay most of the cost of the improvements.
But Forbush said there are several areas where the city will have to pick up the tab, estimating the final cost to Farmington at about $200,000. The project should be completed during July, he said.
The new budget provides funding for three capital-improvement proj-ects, including improving the intersection of U.S. 89 and Shepard Lane, where the new shopping center is being built; completion of the Shepard Lane park; and a new fire station.