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Report shows city finances in good shape

City Council discusses looking cost increases

RITZVILLE – When city Clerk-Treasurer Julie Flyckt laid out details of the city’s 2023 preliminary budget at the City Council meeting Nov. 1, she emphasized it’s strong fiscal condition heading into next year.

Though budget numbers showed an increase in year-over-year expenditures in some areas, she noted the city’s overall financial health remains strong.

Preliminary budget estimates show 2023 expenditures exceeding revenues by approximately $815,315 ($10,317,406 - $9,502,061).

Nevertheless, the city has retained adequate reserves to cover shortfalls. As her budget report states, “It is not uncommon for cities to rely upon the beginning fund balance as a ‘revenue’ source. It is Ritzville’s strategic goal to attain structural balance, thereby eliminating reliance on these funds to supplement current income.”

Next year, higher utility and insurance expenses are expected.

The city’s property liability insurance will likely increase by 16.5%, the report shows.

The utility bill should see a 7% increase, and health insurance premiums for city employees — which constitute 45% of their salaries — are expected to climb by 4.5%, the report shows.

All of these charges will be spread across multiple city funds.

One factor helping to mitigate revenue shortfalls is the city’s “Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.”

Thus far, the city has disbursed only $44,108 (9.5%) from a beginning balance of $462,161.

The disbursements covered various updates to the city’s software and technology systems. For 2023, Flyckt recommended transferring at least $32,229 from the fund to cover anticipated revenue shortfalls.

To provide financial relief from the effects of the recent pandemic, the American Rescue Plan Act was designed to disburse coronavirus funds to local communities.

By law, federal coronavirus recovery funds can be used “to support public health expenditures, address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, replace lost public sector revenue, provide premium pay for essential workers, and invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.”

 

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