$51M city budget proposes raises, rate hikes for Yukon

The 2018-19 budget for Yukon has good news … and bad.

The good news is that most city employees will receive raises, plus a bonus this year, according to Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby.

The bad news is that water and sewer rates are likely going up around the time most people are shopping for holiday gifts.

The two pieces of information are included in the proposed $51,714,625 budget that is expected to be given to the city council for approval on June 5.

The general fund budget includes an anticipated $24,758,224  expenditures and the same amount for revenues.

That includes increased budgets for most departments. However, three departments — Legislative, Insurance and Technology — have proposed lower budgets for the coming year.

The largest decrease is in technology, which is $58,711 lower than the current budget.

Meanwhile, Developmental Services and Park Administration are showing increases of 22 and 17 percent, respectively.

Overall, however, the budget is a balanced budget, Crosby said. That means if something is added to a line item in the budget, something else that has similar costs must be removed.

He said the city’s finances are in good shape.

PAY RAISES

More than 40 city employees have reached the maximum level in the step process for their positions. Crosby suggested adding an additional three steps to allow those employees to benefit from step raises.

Most employees will benefit from raises they have not received in at least two years. That will be combined with a proposal to give each employee a 3 percent stipend in July.

The bonuses will take the place of a 3 percent cost-of-living raise, which could be placed into the budget next fiscal year.

However, Crosby said based on the city’s previous financial issues, it is better to give the employees the one-time bonus.

“We want to make sure we have enough money next year to fund this. If we do, then it will be added to our steps. We will add 3 percent to each of our steps for city employees,” he said.

The stipend does not impact Yukon police and fire personnel, who have separate contracts through their bargaining agreements.

WATER RATES

While the pay raises are a positive for city employees, Crosby said there also is a downside, which is an expected increase in utility costs.

Crosby said he anticipates requesting a 7 percent increase in water rates, as well as a 10 percent increase for sewer and 10 percent increase for sanitation rates beginning in December.

The rate increases will help offset the costs of purchasing water from the city of Oklahoma City, which already has increased its rates twice in the last two years with more increases expected each year in the future.

The last time Yukon raised its water rates was in 2016. That rate increase was spread over two years, with the last portion of the increase implemented in early 2017.

Crosby said it had been several years since Yukon increased its rates for sewer and sanitation services. Those increases will help offset the costs associated with those services, including the purchase of two new sanitation trucks.

Crosby said Yukon’s water rates are in the middle of the rates charged by other nearby communities.

SALES TAX

Yukon’s sales tax is on the rise. Currently, it is running about 10 percent above the previous years.

“We hope it stays that way,” he said.

Crosby said the city’s budget is based on an anticipated 2.5 percent increase in sales and use tax revenues, and an overall 6.32 percent increase in revenue.

The new budget will go into effect on July 1 and will run through June 30, 2019.

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