Camas leaders received some unwelcome news late last month when they were informed by the Clark County Assessor’s Office that the city’s assessed value would very likely take a steep dive in 2011.
This translates into a severe decline in property tax income, which means the city is looking at a $1.6 million shortfall in the 2011 budget. Although early predictions pointed toward a decrease in assessed value, officials said the severity of the situation was unexpected.
The assessed value decline will have acute impacts on Camas finances, said City Administrator Lloyd Halverson, explaining that the municipality relies heavily on this funding source for its general fund and emergency medical services budgets.
Council gave authorization Monday during its workshop for city staff to appropriate a percentage of reserve funds to help balance the 2011 budget. That percentage is likely to be equal to approximately $800,000, which leaves an additional $800,000 in cuts that must be made. It would be the first time in two years that the city’s “rainy day fund” would need to be significantly tapped.
“We face a very serious situation that doesn’t lend itself to little nicks, and then another year of little nicks and cuts, and then expect that it will all turn out in the end,” Halverson said. “This is a larger magnitude than the stuff we’ve dealt with before.”