The City Council has okayed a $53.7 million city budget for the coming year, more than 42 million than Mayor Gere had originally asked for in her budget presentation last October.
The increase was largely driven by capital spending increases in water, sewer and storm utilities.
City Finance Director Steve Hoglund told the Council at their Monday night meeting that $1.2 million is for a new sewer scrubber, $400,000 for a new 3-million gallon water storage tank, $200,000 for pond maintenance in the storm drain system and another $75,000 for early design work on an improved Commercial Ave. between 12th and 32nd streets.
Out of the budget is new employees the Mayor had asked for, including a city communication person. Instead, the revised budget includes $70,000 to develop a “communications strategy,” which may include hiring a contract worker.
The Council had earlier approved a one-percent property tax increase, which will give the city only about $48,000 in added revenue.
Anacortes remains one of the lowest taxing cities in Skagit County with a 2015 general millage of $1.76 per $1000 of assessed value, generating a 2015 property tax levy of $4,642,472. Property taxes are the City’s single largest governmental revenue stream.