Budget Briefs | ParkRecord.com

Budget Briefs

Budget-hearing schedule

City Hall has outlined its tentative schedule for the budget season, which started on Thursday and is slated to end on June 21, when the Park City Council is expected to approve the budget for fiscal year 2008 and a financial plan for the following fiscal year.

According to the schedule, the upcoming meetings are:

( On May 17, when the elected officials will consider funding requests from city departments, will listen to an update about the finances of the Park City Golf Club and discuss how to manage traffic, among other agenda items. They will also review revenues and contracts with outside firms. A hearing is scheduled.

( On May 24, they will spend time talking about City Hall construction projects, usually a key discussion during the budgeting. Staffers are scheduled to discuss a police station, which is under construction off S.R. 224, a planned town plaza and a related building and retrofitting the Marsac Building to make it safer during an earthquake. Other topics are scheduled to include an update of a long-running schedule of improvements in Old Town. A hearing is scheduled.

( On May 31, they will continue to discuss the construction projects, including those meant to make Park City safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and others who are not driving cars. Also on the agenda for the meeting is a talk about waterworks projects and financing, including impact fees that are charged on new construction projects and service fees. A hearing is scheduled.

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( On June 7, topics include personnel policies, City Hall fees and a discussion about taxes, such as resort and transit charges. The elected officials plan to tentatively adopt the budget after another hearing. They are scheduled to also take testimony about the compensation given to Mayor Dana Williams and the City Council.

( On June 14, the officials plan to hold a hearing and adopt a plan for impact fees. They also intend to hold a hearing about the budget and the resort and transit taxes.

( On June 21, City Manager Tom Bakaly plans to present a final budget and the City Council is scheduled to vote whether to approve the document. A hearing is scheduled beforehand. The City Councilors, acting as the governing bodies of the city’s Redevelopment Agency and the Municipal Building Authority, plan to adopt the budget for those entities as well.

The work sessions start at different times and the regular City Council meetings, when the hearings will be scheduled, start at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Officials well paid

Mayor Dana Williams and the five members of the Park City Council are compensated at a rate near the top of a group of other cities City Hall has studied, including communities in Utah and Colorado.

According to the research, which was outlined in a report to the elected officials as they started their annual budget talks, Williams receives the fourth-best compensation out of 24 mayors polled. The mayor takes home $33,876.80 annually in salary and benefits, behind the compensation of the mayors of St. George, Orem and West Valley, all much larger than Park City. He is granted another $3,000 in a car allowance each year, bringing his total compensation to $36,876.80.

Williams is the best paid of the mountain-resort mayors polled, just ahead of the mayor of Aspen, Colo., who receives $33,036 in compensation. The package well outpaces those in cities like Durango, Colo., Breckenridge, Colo., Telluride, Colo., and Heber.

The compensation paid to the City Councilors, meanwhile, ranks Park City No. 3 on the list, the research shows. City Councilors in West Valley City and Aspen earn more.

The City Councilors each earn $22,725.80 in salary and benefits annually.

The elected officials would receive slightly better compensation packages over the next two fiscal years under Bakaly’s budget proposal.

The officials’ compensation is sometimes noted as a reason that more people do not run for office in Park City and the local elected officials have tried to make the salary and benefits comparable to the other cities.

Award-winning finances

A national government-finance organization has awarded City Hall a certificate of achievement for excellence for a document known as the comprehensive annual financial report, which reviews the local government’s fiscal condition.

The Chicago-based Government Finance Officers Association, a not-for-profit, bestowed the award on City Hall for the 19th consecutive year and officials in Park City call the certificate "the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting."

"It’s a lot of work," says Lori Collett, City Hall’s finance manager, whose department won the award.

She says the report provides information to people and firms interested in Park City bonds and the report is sent to bond-rating agencies and City Hall’s bondholders.

"It really helps the bond issuers and the bond buyers," she says.

Jim Phillips, a senior manager at the 17,000-member association, explains outside experts and people at the association review the report to ensure it meets certain standards.

He says the 19 in a row awarded to City Hall is good.

Compiled by Jay Hamburger