WARRENTON — The City Commission has passed a nearly $42.2 million budget for the coming fiscal year, uncertain of how much the city will have in resources after the coronavirus pandemic and related closures blew a hole in local lodging and other tax sources.
Budgets throughout the state are due by the end of the month.
City Manager Linda Engbretson said that while the city was conservative in revenue forecasts, it will be necessary to monitor the budget and staffing levels moving forward.
“There was a lot unknown as we were preparing this, a significant impact to the general fund, a reduction because of the transient room tax dollars,” Engbretson said before the City Commission approved the budget Tuesday.
The city budgeted more than $4.9 million for general daily operations, including $2 million for police, $855,000 for the fire, $1.1 million for city administration, $292,000 for community development, $163,000 for parks, $160,000 for Municipal Court and $235,000 for contingency.
Engbretson pointed to the city’s beginning reserve balance, a $250,000 reduction from this year’s budget, as a sign of the challenges the city will face.
Warrenton had planned to increase water rates by 5% and sewer by 4% to help pay for the increased cost of services but canceled the increases because of the virus impacts. The city also canceled a planned increase of two part-time support staffers in the police department, while laying off a marina worker and cutting seasonal help for parks.
The city, one of the largest in Oregon by land area, which can make providing utilities a challenge, has more than $15 million going toward the Public Works Department. The spending will include more than $11 million related to water treatment, more than $2.5 million to storm sewers and nearly $1.5 million toward sanitation.
The city also has about $9.3 million in unappropriated reserves.