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No rate increases expected for city utility customers

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The City of Delta is holding the line on electric, water, sewer and trash rates for 2016. The rates are built into the draft budget currently being reviewed by the city council.

An allocation of $500,000 from the municipal, light and power fund is being set aside for implementation of the broadband project. Costs for Phase 1 buildout in the City of Delta are estimated at $1,845,462, but city staff has identified some potentially significant savings. In addition, Region 10 has applied for another grant, and the county commissioners have promised funds to help each municipality within Delta County build the new routes.

Transfers from the other utility funds support the golf course -- $180,000 from sewer, $50,000 from water and $150,000 from refuse.

While play is up at Devil's Thumb, the cost of food and beverage service exceeded estimates and an additional transfer of $30,000 from the water fund will be required in 2015. The city had hoped to draw non-golfers for lunch or dinner at the grill, but the location proved "too remote to create volume."

Other budgeted items for 2016 include:

• The installation of outdoor fitness equipment at Confluence Park, in addition to repairs to the trails and pavilions and completion of the handicap fishing peninsula.

• Tennis court repairs at Cleland Park. The city is pursuing a GOCO grant to assist with the cost.

• City hall renovations. The city has received a DOLA grant to remodel city hall with an eye on energy efficiency, handicap accessibility (including an elevator) and potential consolidation of the police department into the building.

• Animal shelter expansion, in partnership with CAWS.

• Pictometry project, in partnership with Delta County. The city is looking for new aerial photography which shows the completed Confluence Drive.

• Economic development, in partnership with Delta County Economic Development, Region 10 and the Department of Local Affairs. A feasibility study is currently underway for two potential projects in Delta County. The city has set aside $30,000 to pursue opportunities.

• City staff will receive a 2 percent salary increase after two years of no across-the-board adjustments. The cost-of-living increase was approved after council learned sales tax collections are holding steady. At a September work session, finance director Tod DeZeeuw reported sales tax is currently up 3.48 percent over last year.

City council reviewed the draft budget Tuesday night and will take formal action in November.

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