Water fees may increase

first_imgWHITTIER – After several years of making municipal budget cuts and raising fees, better times are back for Whittier. City Manager Steve Helvey’s proposed $90.6 million budget for fiscal 2006-07 is balanced without the kind of cuts and fee increases in previous years, although it does include proposed water and trash rate increases. The City Council will study the budget in a special session at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Senior Center, 13225 Walnut St., Whittier. “We think it’s good right now,” Controller Rod Hill said Wednesday. “Historically we’ve used our fund balance to fund a couple of positions in the Police Department and for community services,” he said, referring to money saved in past years. “This year we have sufficient money to fund them out of the current year’s revenue. That’s a significant change.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsRevenue is projected to grow by about 8.1 percent, or about $7.1 million, to $95.2 million, in part because of expected increases in property values, sales tax and utility users tax as well as the elimination of the state take-away of property tax dollars, Helvey stated in his budget message to the council. In addition, Helvey is proposing to increase water rates by 4.5 percent and trash rates by 2.7 percent. “We’re financially sound this year,” Hill said. “We have a long-term labor contract. There’s nothing for fiscal 2006-07 that I see as a surprise.” There’s also a projected $300,000 surplus in the general fund, providing some extra money for the council to dip into for additional projects, he said. The general fund budget projects spending of $51 million and nearly $51.3 million in revenue. But the picture in the past wasn’t so good. Last year, the council cut 2 percent from all of the departments, eliminated the annual fireworks show and closed the city’s two libraries on Sundays. In 2004, the city did not replace city employees who quit or retired and cut all departments by 3.2 percent. Some of those problems were caused when the state began taking away property tax, Hill said. That program was stopped this year and will save the city $719,018. Next year’s budget reflects only a few minor changes over this year, Hill said. Only one new employee,, will be added. The budget also contains about $4.6 million for capital improvements, including repaving of Greenleaf Avenue and Mar Vista Street, more radar signs and crosswalks, new water lines, the re-carpeting of part of City Hall, and accessibility improvements at the community and senior centers. a geographic information system position [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more