The City of Delta is in the process of finalizing a budget that anticipates a 2 percent increase in revenue, but a 15 percent increase in expenditures. To maintain a balanced budget, transfers will be required from the city's enterprise funds.
Since there is no property tax in the city, sales tax is the primary method of funding city services. To support the general fund budget, which covers police, community development, street maintenance and administration, transfers totaling $500,000 will be required from the utilities funds in 2019.
As a result of budget discussions that have been taking place since early September, the 2019 budget will include two new police officers and a marketing firm/employee. Requests for a third officer and an administrative assistant in public works/utilities will not be funded. A request to help fund elevator/HVAC repairs at the Delta Library is not included in the 2019 budget, but remains under consideration.
All employees will see a 3.5 percent salary increase, and the minimum wage will increase by 90 cents on Jan. 1, as mandated by state law.
Capital projects budgeted for 2019 include improvements at Cleland and Confluence parks. At Cleland, playground equipment will be replaced and improvements to the trail will provide better accessibility. Confluence Park improvements include a trail around the fort, a performance stage, tennis court upgrades and remodel of the visitor center restrooms. It's anticipated GOCO grants will assist with the cost of these improvements.
Street repairs and maintenance are budgeted at $709,989; storm water system upgrades at $400,000; and water rehab/maintenance, to include the Big Battlement Reservoir, $400,000.
Other capital expenditures include a new roof for the museum building, which is owned by the city, $29,000; HVAC repairs at city hall, $18,000; police department remodel, $25,175; police department equipment, $23,064; parks equipment including mowers, $282,000; and vehicles -- four new patrol cars, a Jeep for ML&P and a pickup for parks, $221,000.
Under donations/contributions, the city has allocated $5,000 to Delta County Economic Development; $17,430 for All Points Transit; $1,000 for Delta Housing Authority rehab of four housing units; fireworks, $3,000; grad night, $300; BSA flags, $100; chamber, $3,000; Health Fair, $585; and other, $1,000.
One cent of the city's three-cent sales tax is dedicated to parks, recreation and golf. Those funds are augmented by recreation center admission fees, grants and facility rentals. In his budget summary, city manager David Torgler noted that user admissions at Bill Heddles Recreation Center declined in 2017 and again in 2018. At a budget work session, Wilma Erven, director of parks, recreation and culture, said the opening of the recreation center in Montrose has impacted usage in Delta, but it's starting to swing back in the other direction. The 2019 budget includes a projected increase in revenue of 6.6 percent.
Golf course revenues are highly dependent on weather, Torgler told council members, and despite noteworthy efforts by Wilma Erven and golf course manager Ken Brown to keep a tight rein on operating costs. In 2018, the city transferred $495,000 from utilities to the golf course fund. The city had hoped to avoid a similar scenario in 2019, but voters soundly rejected a half-cent sales tax increase for parks, recreation and golf.
The golf course fund is supported in the 2019 budget by membership and user fees of $482,233 (49 percent) and transfers from the sewer, water and refuse funds of $495,000 (51 percent).
A player fee of $2 per round funds sand trap maintenance and other golf course improvements.
City staff looks beyond 2019 to project budget impacts in 2020 and 2021. While no utility increases are anticipated for 2019, that may not be the case for 2020, particularly for sewer and electrical services.