Mission 2015 budget has no increases in tax rates; spending held flat

Mission City Administrator Gerry Vernon speaks about the city budget during an open forum at the community center.
Mission City Administrator Gerry Vernon speaks about the city budget during an open forum at the community center. Photo by Bill Nichols

Mission’s budget for 2015 proposes no increases in property tax rates or any of the other charges to homeowners, such as storm water, trash or transportation utility fees.

The property tax rate is maintained at 11.413 mills and the reserve fund stays above $1.5 million. The budget allows for raises for city employees, but keeps some vacant positions open. The city’s property valuation increased more than four percent, Assistant City Administrator Laura Smith said. Additionally, one mill of property tax that had been used for debt service on the Mohawk Park purchase was moved into the general fund. Mohawk Park is paid off in 2014.

The city will continue to subsidize trash collection for residents, reducing it from the $15.92 per month charged the city to $13.59 per month paid by residents. Overall, both total spending and revenue are predicted to decline slightly in the 2015 budget. The revenue drop is primarily parks and recreation fees and in fines collected.

In 2015, the city predicts spending 37 percent of the general fund on public safety, 25 percent on public works and 24 percent on parks and recreation. The general fund revenue sources include 36 percent from sales tax, 18 percent from parks and recreation charges, 15 percent each from property taxes and fines, and 10 percent from franchise fees. The 2015 general fund is budgeted at $10,260,560.

Because Mission operates both a pool and its own community center, parks and recreation revenue and expense is higher than in most neighboring cities. The 2015 budget has a goal of recovering 80 percent of the community center expenses through its fee structure.

The storm water and transportation charges are dedicated to storm water project debt and street maintenance and do not go into the general fund. The storm water revenues are projected at $2.2 million and the street revenues at $1.5 million. The transportation utility fee generates $775,000 and a quarter-cent sales tax brings in $495,000 for streets.

A small group of residents attended a budget public forum at Sylvester Powell Community Center Wednesday. Many of the questions, though, centered on the lack of progress at the Gateway project and its effect on city finances.