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New fiscal year: Mount Angel passes ’23-’24 budget

By Stephen Floyd

The City of Mount Angel is focusing on infrastructure improvements, public safety and building community in a $17.2 million budget passed for the new fiscal year.

On June 5, the City Council unanimously approved the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 based on a recommendation from the city’s Budget Committee.

Included were $5.2 million in anticipated expenses for the general fund, $7.5 million for water and sewer, and $4.5 for remaining funds such as stormwater, streets, parks and the library.

City Manager/Police Chief Mark Daniel said in a budget summary that the city’s resources may be limited but the budget supports their goals of building an attractive and robust community.

“Our mission is to provide a safe, clean living environment, bestowing hospitality and supporting a high quality of life for residents, guests, and visitors traveling in and around Mount Angel,” said Daniel. “The mission is achieved by strategically planning for the future, providing efficient and fiscally sound services, and being responsive to citizens and customers.”

The 2023-2024 budget represented few significant changes over the previous fiscal year. The city did add a new staff member to the library to help with an increase in program participation.

The new budget included a 5.5% raise for city employees, including a 4% cost of living adjustment and 1.5% market adjustment. Employee recruitment and retention was listed as a high priority in the budget.

Also included were pandemic relief funds carried over from last year when the city received $1.75 million in grants through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Much of the funds have been allocated for projects like radio-read water meters, new vehicles and firearms for the police department, and a new carpet for the library.

In the new fiscal year, the city hopes to begin or complete remaining ARPA-funded projects such as a sewer line expansion along West Marquam Street. On June 5, the council approved a $1.1 million bid for the project by The Saunders Company, with construction expected to begin this year.

The budget also included a projected increase in revenue through property taxes and interest rates.

Marion County has projected a 7% increase in total assessed value for properties within the city, partly because of the Wachter Meadows subdivision along Cypress Street. This is expected to lead to around $70,000 in additional revenue for the city this fiscal year.

There has also been a significant increase in interest rates over the previous fiscal year, leading to additional income from city investments. Interest rates dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022 the city received around $20,000 in interest, or half the normal amount. Rates have since risen dramatically as the Federal Reserve attempts to combat inflation. So far in 2023 the city has received around $40,000 in interest.

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