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Idaho Falls council sets $185 million budget

Idaho Falls council sets $185 million budget

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -  In a long meeting that lasted until midnight Thursday, the council decided to pass a $185 million budget.

It's the same budget as last year and will cover costs from Oct. 1, 2013 through September 2014. Tax dollars are also staying the same, except for one exception.

"An individual's taxes could go up or down depending on the evaluation of his or her particular home," said Idaho Falls City Council Member Kenneth Taylor.

He said if your house evaluation stays the same, your taxes stay the same.

"We don't want to add additional tax burden to the public during the recession," Taylor said.
The amount collected from property taxes in this budget is about $26,800,000.

"I want to make it loud and clear that the city of Idaho Falls is fiscally sound. We're in good shape financially. We recognize its been a tough time for the taxpayer and that is why we've held taxes dollars collected the same for the last four years and now for the fifth," he said. Here is an estimate of the $185 million budget: About 35 percent will go to electric utilities, 25 percent is for fire, police and ambulances, 25 percent is for parks and recreation and 15 percent is for municipal services.

"Utility, the power company is a significant part of the total budget," Taylor said. Taylor also said your tax dollars won't go towards the power part of the budget. He said higher utility rates will.

"For our average customer we are anticipating a $3.65-per-month increase," said Jackie Flowers, general manager of Idaho Falls Power.

Flowers said starting in October, you'll see an increase. "We have a slight increase in all customer classes, so that would be commercial, residential and industrial," she said. Flowers said the reason for the increase is because Bonneville Power Administration increased their rates by 9 percent. Bonneville is the company that supplies power to most of Idaho Falls.

The budget is a tentative budget, meaning it could change. The council plans to set the budget on Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at City Hall in Idaho Falls.

Property-tax dollars are only a small part of the budget. The money will go toward many things like cash reserves for emergencies and large construction projects.

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