CALDWELL — The city of Caldwell is proposing an $88.2 million budget for fiscal year 2021 without a property tax rate increase.
Caldwell City Council unanimously approved the proposed budget at its latest regular meeting Monday and set a public hearing on the budget for Aug. 17.
The proposed budget is about $3 million higher than the city’s current budget of $85.6 million. Much of that increase comes from the city’s general fund, which is set at $27.1 million compared to $23.8 million in the current year.
Caldwell City Clerk Debbie Geyer said a 325-page draft of the full budget was made available to council members and the public at the meeting. This differs to Caldwell’s budget protocol for previous years, when the city would only publish a three-page budget summary prior to the public hearing.
Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas said the budget does not include a 3% increase in property tax rates, the maximum cities are allowed to take, and does not use any forgone revenue, which would also increase property taxes. Nancolas previously told the Idaho Press that the council decided not to increase property taxes earlier this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not raising property tax rates sets Caldwell up to be eligible for federal coronavirus aid for public safety personnel costs next budget year. Caldwell has not publicly expressed intent to participate in this plan, proposed by Gov. Brad Little.
Last year, the council approved a 3% increase in property tax revenue, bringing in about $18 million in property tax revenue for the city.
About $1.7 million of the budget is funded by impact fees for parks, police and fire, which are paid by developers. An additional $10.1 million is allocated to the city’s street fund, a slight decrease from $10.5 million in the current year, and Caldwell’s sewer fund increased to $17.6 million from $16.3 million this year.
City officials did not specify at the meeting whether the budget allowed for additional personnel or new projects in FY21, which begins Oct. 1.