Budget Workshops Under Way at Boise City Hall

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It was standing-room-only in the Bonneville on the third floor of Boise City Hall through most of the day Monday. Mayor Dave Bieter, Boise City Council members, and managers representing every department in city government are struggling through the unpleasant task of crafting a new two-year budget for Fiscal Years 2012-2013. The workshop is expected to continue through today.

Bieter's proposed spending plan for FY 2012 tops $330 million (approximately $14 million less than FY 2011), but it jumps to $350 million in FY 2013.

"If we hold tight, we should stay in the black," said Tonya Wallace, financial service manager, referring to the current fiscal year. "But a challenge ahead is the impact that high unemployment is having on our sales tax receipts."

Among the recommendations in the mayor's budget: eliminating some positions through retirement and not filling vacancies, a 0.25 percent increase on an electric franchise fee (representing about 18 cents a month for an average homeowner) and a 1.5 percent increase in property taxes. Based on the decrease in property values, the average property tax bill is expected to go down by approximately $24.

A public hearing on a series of new fee increases is scheduled for Tuesday, July 19. The Council is expected to make a final ruling on the budget in mid-August, in preparation for the new fiscal year, which begins in October.