Lamar City Council Sets 2016 Budget

Lamar City Council

Lamar City Council

The Lamar City Council was joined by the Lamar Utility Board of Directors for the public hearing held regarding approval for the 2016 budget. Revenues for the City are projected for next year at $7,890,328, which is an increase of $233,035 compared to the 2015 budget. The Sales Tax Revenue of $1,357,206 is steady against last year’s budget estimate. The budget revenues show only a small expectation of gains in some departments for 2016 compared to last year, with many remaining flat.

Expenditures for 2016 are showing a significant jump from last year with 2016 projected at $1,671,905, compared to the 2015 projection of $878,598, an increase of $793,307. The hike is for Attorney Fees and Litigation costs which were projected at $150,000 last year and $1,000,000 for 2016, attributable to the on-going ARPA lawsuit. The remainder of the Expenditure budget is staying very close to the bone with only some minor cost fluctuations and a $12,000 savings over last year as there will be no city elections held in 2016.

The Council passed an ordinance on first reading to levy and collect taxes in the City for 2016. The mill levy is set at 13.239 mills upon each dollar of the total valuation for assessment of all taxable property within the city for 2015, making this the 28th consecutive year of no change to the property tax mill levy. The City will collect $452,587, a 3% increase from revenues in 2015 of $439,679. The Council passed the 2016 budget following the first reading of the ordinance.

The 2016 funding breakdown is as follows:

General Fund $8,547,419
Sales Tax Fund $3,620,030
Water/Sewer Fund $3,791,827
Sanitation Fund $1,409,693
Capital Improvement $   994,849
Ambulance Fund $   348,170

The budget was approved by the Council with one negative vote cast by Mayor Roger Stagner. He voiced his disappointment over what he termed a lack of financial assistance by some of the city’s partners regarding shared budget items with the county.

Houssin Hourieh, Lamar Light Plant Superintendent, presented the Lamar Utilities Board’s 2016 budget to the city council for review. The budget serves two different operations; Operations and Project. Operations covers the revenue requirements from electric retail sales for transmission and distribution, while Project covers the Lamar Repowering Project where expenses are funded through ARPA. The Operations Budget includes total revenues in excess of $14.5 million with $13.5 million from retail electric sales with the balance coming from wind turbine productions and gas gathering fees.   The Operations budget is proposing total operating expenses of almost $12.1 million which includes $9.3 million for power supply.   Personnel costs are estimated at $842,833 and $719,100 for repairs and maintenance. The City of Lamar will receive $1,638,460 as per the Charter Appropriations agreement between LUB and the City.

The Project budget for 2016 proposed operating expenses of over $1.3 million including $820,533 in personnel costs, $365,000 for general and administrative costs and $97,500 for repairs and maintenance. Additional budget discussions with ARPA are expected before the final document is presented to the Lamar City Council.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEconomyFeaturedHot TopicsLamarProwers CountyUtilities


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