Council approves sewer tax increase

April 13, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

No property tax increase, but a probable 4 percent raise in sewer customers' fees went on the table at a marathon Westminster City Council work session last night on a budget package -- capital, operating and utilities -- of about $11 million.

The city staff proposed a 5 percent sewer rate increase, which finance director Stephen V. Dutterer said would translate to about $12 a year for a customer using 18,000 gallons of water per quarter. The council agreed by consensus on a 4 percent increase.

Westminster's property tax rate is 83 cents per $100 of assessed value. That rate is the same as the constant yield, Mr. Dutterer said. The constant yield is the tax rate figure that will generate the same tax revenues as this year, about $2 million.

When the city staff brought the general fund, police, water and sewer, recreation and housing and community development budgets to the council, they already had cut $900,000 in requests to hold the line on the tax rate. Department directors also cut proposed water and sewer capital projects to projected connection-related fees, Finance Director Stephen V. Dutterer reported.

Council members were pleased with a new financing proposal for the Greater Westminster Development Corp., a business development group that asked the city two months ago for a $50,000 contribution toward a $90,000 budget.

The proposal introduced by Thomas B. Beyard, city director of planning and public works, would set the government contribution at $50,000 in cash, $40,000 from the city and $10,000 from a $27,000 state economic development grant. A suggested letter of agreement calls for the business community to contribute $30,000 before Dec. 1, 1995.

Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein, who had called for a contribution from the private sector, responded enthusiastically. Mr. Beyard reported that Thomas Ferguson, who chairs the GWDC steering committee, endorse the plan.

Personnel requests include: one additional police officer, who would be assigned to downtown foot patrol to extend coverage provided by one foot patrolman now assigned downtown; two street laborers; one water plant operator; and three more part-time employees.

The council endorsed a 3.2 percent cost-of-living pay increase for city employees, which will cost about $125,000. The council must adopt a budget by May 9.

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