Mission budget for 2017 proposes holding property tax rate steady after increase last year to support streets

The 2017 budget for the City of Mission anticipates a 95 percent cost recovery for the community center.

A proposed budget for Mission’s general fund shows no increase in property tax rates for 2017.

The budget also proposes the same dedicated use of last year’s seven mill increase for street maintenance. The loss of the Transportation Utility Fee through court action prompted the council to replace the lost street revenue funds with a property tax increase last year. An appeal of that decision is still pending in the state supreme court.

Mission City Administrator Laura Smith told council members in a budget workshop Wednesday that the city has been able to put $1.5 million back into the fund balance in the last two years – more than had been anticipated – to bring the reserves in line with city policy of 25 percent of annual revenue.

The 2017 budget shows the 18.225 mill levy holding steady and $950,000 of the revenue transferred to support street projects. The city anticipates 34 percent of the general fund budget coming from sales and use tax and only 23 percent relying on property tax.

The city’s budget does not anticipate adding to the fund balance in 2017. In fact, the proposal would reduce the reserves by more than $300,000. However, $250,000 is budgeted as a first-time maintenance reserve charge and $100,000 is a one-time charge for financial software. It still maintains a reserve of three months of general fund operating expenses.

The city has a higher budget for parks and recreation than most cities its size because it operates both a pool and community center. Smith said the cost recovery for operation of the community center through fees and memberships is 95 percent for the 2017 budget.

The council also discussed the $85,000 in the budget which subsidizes trash collection. Mission residents only pay about 86 percent of the cost of trash collection while the remainder is subsidized by the city budget. Most area cities pass the full cost of trash collection through to residents.

This is the last budget before a tax lid passed by the state legislature takes effect, requiring a city election for increases in collections above inflation. The lid contains a number of exceptions and one of those would be the repayment of any previous year TUF collections if ordered by the court.