During a preliminary budget discussion July 7, water and sewer infrastructure improvements emerged as the main priority for Bayport’s spending next year.
The July 7 discussion was intended to provide general guidelines and priorities for city staff as they begin the budget-planning process.
“With our infrastructure and the issues that we’ve had this winter I guess I see that as a priority,” Councilmember Connie Carlson said. “It’s only going to get worse.”
Updating infrastructure would include water and sewer as well as resurfacing roads with curb and gutter.
“You’re in the street to do water and sewer, so typically you’re going to do curb and gutter anyway — there’s really no way you can do one without the other,” City Administrator Logan Martin said.
The state of the city’s storm and sanitary sewers will be examined in a study this fall. Once the city has the results of the study, it intends to develop a plan to work through the city on sewer and water projects.
In the work session, the council also discussed the possibility of new electric meter readers that would save public works employees time and provide more accurate readings. Since the new electric meters are quite expensive council members agreed they would like to see specific numbers showing the cost savings of electric meters before making radio-read meters a priority.
The work session also offered an opportunity for the council to tentatively consider if it wants to keep the tax levy flat, raise the levy or lower it.
“I’ve talked to a couple business, and they just really have a hard time with the taxes they are paying for properties here in town,” Mayor Susan St. Ores said.
“I’d like to stay as flat as we can without doing any harm to the city,” she added.
City staff will present a preliminary budget to the council during another work session in August. The preliminary budget will be approved by the council in September. At that point, the numbers in the preliminary budget will set the upper cap for the tax levy. The finalized budget can be smaller than the preliminary budget, but it cannot exceed it.
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