The Battle Ground City Council adopted the city’s proposed 2021 budget in a unanimous vote on December 21st after months of budget planning, meetings and public hearings.
The budget was developed with a focus on service level improvements, efficient use of public resources, and the commitments made with voter approval of annexation to Fire District 3. The fire annexation eliminates the need to contract for fire and emergency medical services and allows the city to better fund and improve city services.
- The Streets Fund, used for the maintenance and preservation of streets, sidewalks, traffic signals, street lighting, increased by $1.2 million in the 2021 budget. Of that amount, $935,600 is dedicated specifically to street maintenance and repair.
- The Law Enforcement Fund increased by $582,077 in order to maintain and enhance police services including increased traffic patrols, investigations, proactive policing, community outreach and re-implementation of the K-9 program.
- The budget includes an additional $77,800 for maintenance in city parks and streets. The city is committed to creating a more welcoming environment for residents and visitors.
- A one-time investment of $100,000 is included in the budget to create a master plan for the city’s parks and recreation resources of the future. Battle Ground residents place a high value on well-being and the sense of community that parks and recreation resources offer.
- The 2021 budget will utilize Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) funds to pay off an existing parks bond at its earliest payoff date of December 1, 2021. Doing so will save $140,160 in interest.
In addition to funding service level improvements, City Council committed to reducing the utility tax rate on water, sewer and stormwater drainage on January 1st of 2021. That promise was delivered earlier than expected in June of 2020 as a way of providing relief to residents and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the budget process, City Council is required to establish the amount of property taxes to be collected in the upcoming year. For the 2021 budget, the Battle Ground City Council opted to not increase the property tax levy (the total amount of property tax collected).
New growth that occurred in the city in 2020 will provide an additional $122,776 of property taxes collected for the 2021 budget. With additional property owners sharing the cost of city services, the property tax levy rate will decrease from $1.35 per thousand of assessed value in 2020 to $1.29 per thousand in 2021.
Property tax revenue, along with sales and utility tax revenue, pays for city services such as police, streets, planning, and parks and recreation.
The 2021 proposed/adopted budget is available to view here. The formal 2021 Budget document is being prepared and will be available by mid-January.