CALDWELL — The Caldwell City Council unanimously approved its proposed $84.2 million budget for fiscal year 2019 at its Monday meeting, a slight increase from last year’s $83.5 million budget.

The new budget will require the city to pull about $19.2 million from its fund balance — money saved through the years through sources of extra revenue from departments — to pay for the difference between city expenses and revenue and fulfill a balanced budget for the new fiscal year, according to Caldwell Finance Director and Treasurer Carol Mitchell. A bulk of that money will go toward special project costs.

“We have chosen to try and save for our future projects as opposed to trying to bond for them because it’s a cost saving to the public,” Mitchell said.

Savings from the fund balance are generally one-time, capital uses and are not used for operations, she said. Caldwell has reserves in multiple funds, according to the city’s 2017 audit report. The sewer department had about $16.6 million in their fund balance.

For the new fiscal year, a large portion of that fund balance — about $11.8 million — will go toward upgrading Caldwell’s Wastewater Treatment Plant to ensure compliance with EPA standards.

“It’s a good chunk of that $19 million,” Mitchell said. “We didn’t have to go to bond, because we had this in our savings account.”

About $25 million of the budget is delegated to the general fund, which funds things like police, fire and engineering. More than $22 million is budgeted for sewer.

Various other departments including sanitation and irrigation are receiving fund increases, primarily due to population growth, Mitchell said.

The city anticipates nearly $16.9 million in property tax revenue, which is about $600,000 more than the previous year’s due to higher assessed values.

The city’s remaining revenue will come from various other enterprise funds such as the water, sewer, street and recreation.

Savannah Cardon is the Caldwell reporter for the Idaho Press. Follow her on Twitter, @savannahlcardon, or reach her at 208-465-8172.

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