Duvall deals with budget

DUVALL — The City of Duvall is anticipating a tight but

manageable budget next year despite the loss of $183,000 in revenue from the

passage of Initiative 695.

The year 2000 was supposed to be the year that staff members would

finally be able to buy much-needed equipment, said Interim Finance

Director John Ringler. With the loss of revenue from the Motor Vehicle

Excise Tax and sales tax equalization, however, city staff will need to wait

at least another year.

Another way the city plans to curtail spending while keeping all of

its employees is to hold back on pay raises in 2000.

"We're still in negotiations with the public works and police

unions," Ringler said. "They're not happy,

but they understand why."

Next year's $11-million budget is approximately 16 percent higher

than in 1999 due to increases in utility rates, and those additional funds are

already earmarked for construction and improvements to the water and sewer

facilities. About $200,000 will be used to repair existing water mains

around the city, a project that city officials agree should have been done before.

"The repairs should happen every year but they didn't have money in

the past," Ringler said.

The sewer plant is also in need of major construction and

rehabilitation. The council recently renewed the

six-month construction moratorium so that new development wouldn't

overload the current system. Once the facility begins operating at more than

85 percent of the capacity, the state would be authorized to take control of

the sewer system, a move that the city is trying to avoid.

"Ecology was complimentary of us making our moratorium instead

of waiting for the state to manage us," said Councilmember Pat Fullmer.

City staff and consultants are currently reviewing the proposed

sewer facility expansion and have about $400,000, plus $200,000 for land

purchases, allocated for repairs.

Although it's likely that residents won't see a lot of additional city

services in the coming year, many of the current amenities won't be cut.

"We've been able to maintain the present level of workforce and

services," Ringler said. "But as the

city expands, it'll take more money."

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