A budget season Q&A with Herriman’s Finance DirectorApr 30, 2022 10:49AM ● By Justin Adams
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
Springtime is more than budding flowers, baby animals and NBA playoffs. For Utah municipalities, it’s the beginning of budget season.
The Herriman Journal asked Herriman City Finance Director Alan Rae a few questions about this year’s Herriman budget. Here’s what he had to say.
Q: How have recent inflation and high gas prices impacted the current year budget as well as the forming of the tentative budget?
A: We are seeing higher prices and pressure to increase competitive wages. In the current budget we have made attempts to adjust for inflation and increased costs across all our funds. Our Fleet department has tried to estimate the changes in fuel but if gas prices continue to increase it may be necessary to amend the budget in the future. Our Human Resources department has done extensive research on all our positions, particularly hourly, and have made market adjustments as needed. Many departments have seen costs raise at higher-than-normal rates and have had to make best estimates of what those costs will be. Many departments will delay adding personnel or equipment to make the budget expenditures grow at a lower rate than that of revenue.
Q: What are the priorities that the City Council has communicated to you for this budget cycle?
A: The City Council has told us that their priority is to maintain the current infrastructure before we do new projects. The budget does add about $300,000 to our streets' maintenance. As we went through the budget, the priority was making sure that we have a process to maintain existing assets.
Q: Are there any significant changes to the city's projected revenue for the next fiscal year?
A: Property tax received by the City has not changed since the City was created, but last year we withdrew from the Unified Fire Authority, which created a change in how the tax is distributed. At the time of withdrawal, we were unable to form our fire service district soon enough to assess the tax for this year, so the reduction of the Unified Fire Service Area category on property taxes was added to our general Herriman City tax for this tax period, but will go back out into its own district that the City is creating for the next tax period.
The main increase that we have in the budget is sales tax. The sales tax continues to grow and for the past three years it has seen an increase between 20 and 30%. We expect it to continue to grow at that rate for this budget cycle.
Q: Are there any significant changes to the city's projected expenses for the next fiscal year?
A: The budget anticipates a few new positions. A deputy city attorney/city prosecutor will provide in-house prosecution services for the court, which was previously contracted out. They will also assist with the work for the City Council.
We have had a part-time judge in our justice court for several years. He recently resigned, and we will be replacing our part-time judge with a full-time judge, as well as expand the days our court operates. We will also be implementing an interlocal agreement with a neighboring city to allow them to utilize the judge’s services part of the time, which will offset some of the cost. We will also be adding a Human Resources tech, an Accountant, a Parks Tech I, a Public Works Inspector, and a Building Inspector.
Q: If residents want to get involved or follow the budget process, what avenues are there for them to do so?
A: On April 27 and May 11, the council will be discussing their questions and will propose any changes they want made. On May 11, the council will approve the tentative budget, which means that is the budget the council has accepted for public review. After the May 11 approval, the budget will be published to the residents or anyone who would have an interest. On May 25, there will be a public hearing opportunity for residents to come to City Council meeting and offer comments regarding the budget. Residents may also come to any City Council meeting and comment on the budget during the regular public comment portion. The council can make adjustments to the budget up until the final adoption, which will be on June 8. After that, any changes to the budget will come through the normal process of a public hearing before the council makes a change.