Washington City Hall

The city of Washington presented its fiscal 2022 budget Monday, which includes planned expenditures of $250,000 on a new park, $300,000 on a water tower and over $150,000 on increased payroll costs.

The Washington City Council unanimously approved the budget Monday after a public hearing at which there were no public comments. The budget covers the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2021, and ends Sept. 30, 2022. 

The new budget anticipates the city receiving $31,162,515 in revenue and spending $40,002,750. The city will dip into reserves to make up for the $9 million difference, said Mary Sprung, the city’s finance manager. With this budget combined with what the city has in reserves, the city projects it will end this fiscal period with $21,730,600 in reserve funding.

“It’s a balanced budget with healthy reserves,” Sprung said. “And that’s what we strive for every year.”

This budget is very similar to last year’s, Sprung said, when the city budgeted for $31,126,980 in revenue and $40,563,640 in spending. Sprung said the budget stays consistent year-over-year.

One thing that does change is capital improvement projects, she said. This coming fiscal year, Washington has budgeted $14,678,835 for capital improvement projects. Last year that number was $15,557,795, which is a little higher because the city had to pay for construction of the new Agnes Nolting Aquatics Complex. 

This year’s projects include the planned Phoenix Center playground, for which the city anticipates spending $250,000; a new water tower east of town, for which the city anticipates spending $300,000; and new airport hangars, for which the city anticipates spending $120,000. City Administrator Darren Lamb said the city planned to build the airport hangars last year. However, with the volatile market and increasing steel prices, the project was put on hold. The city is still waiting to see if steel prices go down before it proceeds.

Also included in the new budget is $147,000 in increased payroll costs that the city has incurred after it approved a new employee payment plan. In May, the city contracted with the Austin Peters Group, a Kansas-based consulting firm, to do a study on how the city’s salaries compare to similar municipalities.

“It took a look at what our job salaries are and says, ‘based on all the cities we’ve reviewed, if the city wants to be in the 60th percentile, this is what you should pay,’” Lamb said.

The city used the results of the study to determine a new salary plan.

The city also will have to pay for 2 to 3 percent pay raises for staff based on merit. Lamb said that each year department heads conduct performance reviews for all city employees, and the city gives out raises based on those reviews.

The city also plans to hire a new police officer and a part-time clerk and maintenance worker for the parks department, as well as additional maintenance workers for the water and wastewater departments.

The city also anticipates hiring an assistant airport manager in the spring, a new position. Since the city took control of the airport in 2019, it’s only had three employees, Lamb said.

“The airport is obviously a seven-day-a-week operation, so we felt it was imperative to have enough staff to keep it running on nights and weekends,” he said.

Following are budget expenditures by category:

• General fund: $14,286,325

• Sewage treatment: $5,261,535

• Capital improvement sales tax fund: $4,490,750

• Water: $3,834,650

• Solid waste: $2,963,660

• Debt service: $2,665,200

• Transportation sales tax fund: $2,021,000

• Vehicle and equipment replacement: $1,352,900

• Storm water improvement: $1,255,320

• Volunteer fire: $1,012,580

• Libraries: $858,830

• Other financing uses: $5,431,920