A proposed budget for Tooele City’s Community Development/Public Works Department tallies $520,660 more than the department’s current budget, according to its director Jim Bolser.
The current fiscal-year budget for the department is about $16.47 million with the proposed 2018-19 fiscal-year budget at about $17.01 million.
Bolser presented a detailed explanation of the proposed budget during an 80-minute presentation to the city council on Wednesday.
“My goal is to be diligent and respect the public’s money with the budgeting process,” he said.
“The true increase in the proposed budget is only 1.70 percent overall,” Bolser said. “Of the overall budget proposal, the community development side makes up approximately 17 percent of the budget and public works the remaining 83 percent.”
He said six division leaders within his department gave him proposals of what they needed in their budgets. They were asked to provide the information by Dec. 1 to Bolser who then spent two months going over all of the line items.
“I also look at trends the past five years. What we’re seeing this year is pretty consistent with previous years,” he said.
Community development includes planning and building divisions. Public works includes water, sewer, streets, storm drain, code enforcement and fleet maintenance divisions.
“Our department has an extremely diverse set of tasks,” Bolser told the city council. There are 40 employees in the department. The department maintains 150 vehicles and/or pieces of equipment. It includes taking care of police department vehicles.
Bolser oversees 14 accounts with 352 line items.
The budget includes operational costs to keep vital services available. Some wish list items are included in the department’s proposed budget, and some wish list items are provided to the council for review that were not in the current budget.
“Our budget does include cost of living increases and step increases for employees and a benefits package,” Bolser said. “Some of this is deferred for now to the Human Resources Department for further review.”
He noted, “Some of our administrative costs are down, but we have several capital project needs.”
Bolser said one reason the budget is similar to last year’s is because he looks to see if some of the accounts are utilized effectively. If not, funds are shifted to other areas.
“In my opinion, the council has some tough decisions ahead with the budget,” he said. “They always have been fair with our requests.”
Needs expressed in the proposed budget for public works include money for training to keep employees certified to perform various tasks, improved computer systems, and radio service upgrades to phone service for employees in the field so they don’t have to use their personal phones.
“There are some areas where reception is difficult,” Bolser said. “We value the safety of employees and need to be able to communicate with them.”
Other requests include snowplow blades, truck backup camera systems, variable message signs for road construction projects, a street sweeper, solar-powered school zone crossing lights, software for maintenance on vehicles, a new garage door for the city’s maintenance facility, a trailer winch and a diesel diagnostic system to more efficiently work on vehicles.
Bolser presented a wish list of 158 long-term capital projects that would cost an additional $10.5 million. The list includes 70 street projects, 43 stormwater projects, 13 upgrades to the water system and 30 sewer projects.
A final budget presentation on April 18 will cover a variety of departments including the library, recorder’s office, human resources, attorney’s office, finance department and administration.
The council has a May 2 deadline to adopt a tentative budget. A final hearing and adoption of the 2018-19 fiscal-year budget is scheduled for June 20.