First look at the Herriman City BudgetApr 27, 2020 11:42AM ● By Justin Adams
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
The unknowns associated with COVID-19 are stressful for everyone, not the least of which are Herriman City staff members and elected leaders as they try to put together a budget for the next fiscal year.
“We don’t have any idea how long this pandemic might last and how it will affect our budget,” said Herriman City Finance Director Alan Rae during an April 8 City Council meeting.
The biggest impact to Herriman’s budget will be a hit to its sales tax revenue, which constitutes the single-largest source of revenue for the city. In fiscal year 2018-2019, sales and use taxes made up 64.5% of its revenue.
With spending down and many businesses closed for an indefinite amount of time, it’s hard to know how much of a hit the city will take.
With that in mind, the budget and finance committee had to consider how much to change its approach to the budget process this year. Do committee members plan on this ending soon or err on the side of caution? According to Rae, they decided to fall somewhere in between.
“We decided that we should budget normal, but we’ve entered some safeguards into this budget to try to make sure that our budget is consistent with what the market ends up giving us over the next few months,” he said.
As an example of these safeguards, certain new employee positions and vehicle purchases scheduled to take place this fiscal year are required to wait until January 2021.
“This will give time to review the situation before we add employees,” Rae said.
Other precautions city officials are taking to save money include a freeze on all in-state travel and training through the rest of the year as well as a freeze on out-of-state travel for a whole calendar year.
As for what changes are in the budget, here are a few of the departments that will have a little more to spend this year.
City leaders are planning to replace an attorney they previously retained on a contract basis with an additional in-house attorney.
Human Resources: +$52,588
The time has come for city leaders to conduct another wage and benefit study, which can be costly. The goal is to find out if Herriman City employees are paid above or below the average for similar cities.
Information Technology: +$44,921
According to Rae, the licensing and subscription fees for many of the software programs used by the cities’ departments continue to increase.
Economic Development: +$304,915
City leaders are still in the hunt for the first economic development director. Assuming they find the right fit sometime this year, it’ll mean another department-head level salary and benefits package to pay out.
Street Maintenance +$573,139
In addition to the costs of a couple new vehicles, Rae said city officials are dedicating more money toward annual road maintenance throughout the city.
The Herriman Police Department, now in its second year, continues to grow as it projects to add one new full-time position (a detective) this year. It’s also time to cycle out some of the older vehicles for newer models, according to Rae.
All of this is subject to change, as the council will have an opportunity to provide feedback and revisions. Once the council does that, the budget will be made available for the public to examine and give their own feedback. The public hearing for the budget is tentatively scheduled for May 27. After that, the city council will have to adopt a budget sometime before June 20.