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City reviews finances, grants for 2013, 2014

Snohomish County is contributing $50,000 toward the restroom facility at Haller Park. - Kirk Boxleitner
Snohomish County is contributing $50,000 toward the restroom facility at Haller Park.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — The city of Arlington looked back on 2013 and ahead to the rest of 2014 during the City Council workshop meeting on Monday, Feb. 24, as city staff reviewed financial reports and grants for the year ahead and the year behind.

City of Arlington Finance Director Jim Chase delivered the financial reports for December of 2013 and January of 2014, noting that the sales tax dollars received in those months were greater than those of the same months in the previous years.

“Sales tax dollars received in December, from October sales, were $264,547,” Chase said. “The total amount for 2013 is $192,000 greater than the amount received in 2012, or a 6.2 percent increase. Sales tax dollars received in January, for November sales, were $18,000 more than the amount received for the same month in 2013.”

Property taxes, the third largest form of tax, in 2013 were also ahead of the city’s 2012 collections by 2.2 percent, of which Chase attributed 1 percent to the increase allowed by Initiative 747, with the additional 1.2 percent coming from collections from prior years’ amounts owed, and from new construction tax dollars.

“January is historically a slow month for property tax collections,” Chase said. “First-half property taxes are due on April 30, and second-half taxes are due on Oct. 30.”

While building permit revenues were budgeted at $300,000 for 2013, they totaled just $193,069 for the year. By contrast, emergency medical services’ transport fees generated revenues of $975,619 in 2013, well ahead the year’s budget of $950,000.

“We began 2013 with a beginning fund balance of $377,749 in the general fund,” Chase said. “We ended 2013 with a total of $504,743. This is a positive step in the right direction. We still have much work to do, to build the reserve to the required levels called for in our financial policies, which is approximately $1,850,000. I would also like to note and commend the police and fire departments for their efforts to end the year below their budgeted numbers. They certainly contributed to increasing the ending general fund balance.”

The city received $147,507 in grant funds during the five months between August and December of 2013.

The three largest grants were $120,000 from the Department of Ecology for stormwater retrofit improvements on Smokey Point Boulevard, from the Portage Creek Bridge to State Route 530; $11,867 from the Department of Justice to the police department for RadioIP software, that’s used in patrol cars to access the city’s network and SNOPAC data; and $11,540 from the hotel/motel grant program to the city’s outdoor summer park events and the annual Eagle Festival.

The city has yet to hear whether it will receive an additional $750,000 for Phase 2 construction of the Prairie Creek Drainage Improvement Project from the DoE’s Floodplain Management Program, or $77,000 for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from FEMA.

Outside of that five-month window, while the state denied the city’s application for funding of Haller Park’s restrooms and other amenities, Snohomish County has kicked in $50,000 for the restroom facility.

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