Town of Parker

The Parker Town Council has tentatively adopted a budget of $17,748,761 for the coming 2091-20 fiscal year. At their meeting June 4, the council approved a budget that includes $5 million in the general fund, $4.1 million in special funds, $6.7 million in capital projects funds and $913,640 in the Utility Enterprise Fund (water bills).

Town Manager/Finance Director Lori Wedemeyer said the town had held four budget work sessions, and they also held a public hearing to get citizen comments. She said they had met all the legal posting requirements.

The budget includes funds from grants and other sources the town does not yet have and may not obtain. Such funds must be included in the budget before they can be spent.

Among the budget highlights presented by Wedemeyer was that the general fund was expected to decline by 1 percent to $5,072,466. Highway User Revenue Funds from the state’s fuel tax were expected to also be down by 1 percent to just over $2 million. At the same time, the hotel/motel bad tax revenue was expected to increase 16 percent to $140,000.

The hotel/motel bed tax was enacted to be used for community development purposes. Three entities requested funding from the tax revenue this year:  the Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce & Tourism at $50,000, the La Paz Economic Development Corporation at $30,000 and the “Passport to Adventure” at $1,500.

One of the items included in the budget is a call for performance agreements with the three entities seeking hotel/motel bed tax funding. Councilman Randy Hartless asked if these agreements were included in the budget, and was the council giving tentative approval to those agreements that evening.

Wedemeyer said the performance agreements were not included in the budget. She said those would be negotiated at a later date, and they would have to be approved by the council separately from the budget.

Other budget highlights included 5 percent increases from the Western Arizona Council of Governments for the Parker Community/Senior Center’s home-delivered and congregate meals programs.

The town’s sales tax revenue was budgeted at $1.35 million, the same amount budgeted for FY 2018-19. The Shared Sales Tax from the state was expected to increase slightly from $295,328 to $301,464. The Shared Withholding Tax from the state was expected to increase from $371,474 to $391,882.

Town employees will receive a 3 percent Cost-of-Living-Adjustment in the coming fiscal year, Wedemeyer said. However, some part-time employees in the Senior Center’s Congregate and Home-Delivered meals program will receive more because they are currently not being paid the newly-mandated state minimum of $12 per hour.

All totaled, the Town has budgeted $4,102,105 for salaries from all funds for FY 2019-20. These include $2.5 million from the general fund, $435,700 from Highway User Revenue Funds from the state, and $288,000 from the Utility Enterprise Fund (water department).

Once the budget is tentatively approved, the total amount may not be increased. Some funds can still be moved around, but the overall budget cannot exceed the amount that was tentatively approved.

The budget must now be published for two weeks. Full adoption is scheduled for the council’s July 2 meeting.

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