GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls City Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of accepting the proposed budget for the 2022 fiscal year.
These numbers provided are only estimates, but as of June 15 of this year, the city has projected total revenue at just more than $135 million, while total expenditures are around $120 million.
Part of the budget includes the Covid Recovery Fund, which provided more than $15 million and is designed to help the city’s economy recover from the effects of the pandemic. Mayor Bob Kelly says the city has until 2026 to spend the Covid-related money, and they are fairly limited in terms of how the city can spend the money.
He said there weren’t any big surprises in the budget this year and said a big part of the budget was not raising property tax this year like they did last year.
“This year, we’re not doing that again so that’s an additional six or seven hundred thousand dollars of taxes we’re not laying out to the public this year. So, no increases in property taxes, assessment taxes, and hopefully we’re going to keep our utility rates the same rate as well. So the budget is going to look very much the same as it did last year,” Kelly said.
City Manager Greg Doyon added that he anticipates raises coming next year since it would be a challenge to not raise them three budget cycles in a row. He also stressed that the general fund that the tax money goes into is already stretched thin with most of it going toward the police and fire departments.
“We’re not going to be able to that next year and I think that’s important to understand. The reason is that we went into Covid in a strong financial position, and we were able to absorb the loss of revenue with fund balance. That’s money that’s set aside for special circumstances. Covid was a special circumstance. We were able to roll with that for two budget cycles but the third budget cycle, we’re going to need to make adjustments like we have in the past,” Doyon said.
Doyon added that along with Covid, public safety remains a top priority and will be reflected in the budget for the coming fiscal year.
Click here for more budget documents on the city website.