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Siloam Springs' total budget for 2019 is $51,740,801, according to a full report of the budget that was recently uploaded to the city's website.

The document begins by stating that economic expansion into different financial sectors, considerations around city planning and implementing policies at the municipal level that foster growth, are all things the city views as priorities, and then moves onto other topics. In recent times, most sales-tax payers are primarily in the retail sector and the entities considered to be "major employers" include Simmons Foods, John Brown University, Siloam Springs School District, Cobb-Vantress, DaySpring, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital, La-Z-Boy Arkansas, Walmart and the Gates Corporation.

Similarly to many other cities, the city uses different funds for appropriating funds for activities taking place in a given department. For Siloam Springs, the two funds that the city relies on to facilitate the majority of operations are the general fund and the enterprise fund.

The general fund comprises 38 percent of the total city budget and is used to account for things like public safety, community development and a range of other city operations and services, according to the document. Two additional types of funds, both of which are funded by sales taxes, are considered to be part of the general fund and include the special revenue fund, which accounts for seven percent of the city's budget in 2019 and is used for expenditures made for special projects, according to the document.

The other is the debt service fund, which accounts for two percent of the city's budget in 2019 and is used to pay off debts that have accrued, along with interest and additional costs. These two funds aside, funding for the general fund is derived from property taxes (one mill = 1/000 of $1), sales and use taxes (2 percent for 2019), transfers from other funds such as the enterprise fund, supplemental taxes on alcoholic beverages (5 percent), hotel or motel taxes (2 percent) and charges for services, such as the city's ambulance service, recreation facilities or reimbursement for construction costs.

Some of the most significant divisions of the city that are funded by the general fund include the administrative department, finance, police, fire, community development (which has four separate categories), infrastructure, and maintenance. Listed below are the expenses budgeted for each of these categories for 2019, along with a percent increase or decrease when compared to the amounts budgeted for 2018.

Administration: $2,070,547 (10.4 percent increase)

Finance: $1,651,981 (8.4 percent increase)

Police: $5,175,921 (12.8 percent increase)

Fire: $5,748,849 (39.6 percent decrease)

Community Development (total): $4,248,967 (65.1 percent decrease)

Infrastructure: $667,660 (.5 percent decrease)

Maintenance: $347,255 (6.2 percent decrease)

Total general fund expenditures: $19,911,180 (20.4 percent decrease)

When combined, sales and use, and property taxes represent 28 percent of the 2019 budget, or $13.5 million, representing a considerable portion of revenues for the general fund, according to the document. Sales and use taxes are also expected to increase by 3.3 percent this year compared to 2018.

Charges for services, however, account for 47 percent of the 2019 budget, or $23,549,725, and much of these services are things like water, sewage, electricity and other amenities provided by the city. Services like these, in which the user pays the city to receive them, fall into the next fund that was mentioned previously, the enterprise fund.

Specifically, revenues in the enterprise fund are derived from the airport, electrical utilities, water utilities, wastewater utilities and the solid waste fund. Since their intent is to generate revenue, monies from the enterprise funds are used to fund their day to day costs, but also to make transfers to the general fund when possible. Listed below are each of the divisions in the enterprise fund, along with some additional information.

Electric utility fund

• The electric department's total expected revenue for 2019 is $9,486,669. This is a 10.10 percent increase from the budgeted amount for 2018. Regarding costs, however, the budget provides for $11,318,815 in expected expenditures, which is a 15.8 increase from 2018.

Water utility fund

• The water utility fund, which is overseen by the public works department, has a total expected revenue for 2019 of $6,788,268. This is a 37.4 percent increase from the budgeted amount for 2018, but their costs are expected to reach $5,815,605, which is a 15 percent increase from 2018.

Wastewater utility fund

• Similarly to the water utility fund, this fund is also overseen by the public works department and has a budget of $3,759,608 for 2019, which is a 62.5 percent decrease from the budgeted amount for 2018. This will not be able to account for the total expected expenses, which the budget estimates to be $5,362,962, a 67.8 decrease from 2018.

Solid waste fund

• This fund is also administered by the public works department and its 2019 budget is $3,368,134, a 9.4 increase compared to the amount budgeted for 2018. This will not cover the expected expenses for the year, however, which are slated to be $3,915,656, a 10 percent increase from 2018.

The airport

• This airport fund is overseen by the Community Development Department and its 2019 budget is $569,120, a 14.1 percent increase compared to the amount budgeted for 2018. This division of the enterprise fund is also likely going to be unable to cover their expected costs for the year, which are estimated to be $1,027,637

For more information on the city's budget or to download the full document, visit siloamsprings.com

General News on 01/13/2019

Print Headline: An overview of the 2019 city budget

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