Washougal reviews levy lid lift options

Additional discussions are expected Monday

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Washougal voters could decide as early as November, whether to approve a levy lid lift to offset financial challenges faced by the city.

The preliminary options discussed during the June 24 City Council meeting included an extra 10, 17.5 or 24 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, to be paid by property owners.

Finance Director Jennifer Forsberg said, with current assumptions, the city could face a $303,651 deficit in 2014. That is based on projected revenue of $10.8 million and expenditures of $11.1 million.

A 10 cent lid lift would be expected to generate $129,000, which could be identified for fire and emergency medical services. The annual cost to the owner of a house valued at $250,000 would be $25.10.

A 17.5 cent lid lift could generate $225,000, and it would cost $43.85 for the owner of a home valued at $250,000.

A 24 cent lid lift would cost the owner of a $250,000 house $60 per year, and it could generate $309,000. That third option would bring the city up to a positive status, in regard to the projected $303,651 deficit.

In 2006, Washougal voters approved a six-year, 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation lid lift with 55.57 percent approval. The lift was effective to 2012.

Councilwoman Connie Jo Freeman asked if there are areas where financial cuts can be made, to reduce the projected deficit in 2014.

City Administrator David Scott said savings could be realized if the city did not budget $30,000 in the transportation capital fund. Its purpose is to serve as a potential matching fund for grants. The city could also save $30,000 by not setting aside that amount in the building capital fund.

Similar efforts could occur with the equipment repair and replacement fund.

“We will have a balanced budget,” Scott said. “We have to.”

The city council is expected to discuss the options during its next regular meeting Monday, at 7 p.m., in the council chambers at City Hall, 1701 “C” St. A vote regarding whether to have voters decide on a levy lid lift in November could occur during the July 22 council meeting.