The City of Battle Ground is currently developing its 2021 budget, scheduled to be formally adopted by City Council in December. The budget is a significantly important document - it represents the priorities of City Council, it guides city operations, and it identifies where tax dollars and other revenues are utilized.
The city’s budget document is prepared annually for a January through December fiscal year, but the process of budgeting is an ongoing effort that relies on strategic planning, economic indicators, and input from the public to guide priorities.
In February of this year, voters approved a measure to annex into Fire District 3. Annexation means that the fire district’s jurisdiction has expanded to include Battle Ground city limits. Beginning in 2021, property owners will be levied the fire district tax rate and Fire District 3 will provide fire protection and emergency medical services directly to city residents. The annexation eliminates the unpredictability of having to contract for these critically important services.
The City made specific commitments to the community on how funds would be utilized should annexation be approved and the cost of the Fire/EMS contract eliminated:
These commitments are a primary focus in developing the 2021 budget. In fact, some are already being implemented. In an effort to support residents and businesses impacted by COVID-19, City Council made the utility tax decrease effective June 1 of this year, 7 months earlier than the original date of January 1, 2021. Council also approved the hiring of two additional police officers for next year, providing the time needed to recruit and train new officers to support service level improvements in 2021.
From now through adoption of the budget in December, City Council will meet to evaluate proposed budgets for each of the city’s departments. City Council meetings and study sessions are always open to the public and the public is encouraged to participate by attending and contributing to the dialogue during public hearings.
The City has published a 2021 Budget website page that includes a calendar of upcoming meetings, information about the budget process, and a list of council priorities. The page, designed to keep the community informed as the 2021 budget is developed, will be updated regularly as meetings and developments occur.