PRESCOTT VALLEY - The town continues to emerge from the recession with a FY 2014-15 draft budget of $70 million, up from its current budget of $62 million.
Department heads remain hopeful that budget projections will continue climbing; before the recession hit, the town's FY 2007-08 budget sat at $111 million.
"We're better off this year than in the past," said Finance Director Bill Kauppi.
The forecasted increase in new retail stores would bring in additional revenues, boosting the positive trend in construction sales tax, Kauppi said.
The new fiscal year also will pave the way for new employee positions in several town departments, and a reserve cushion to exceed $14 million.
Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said the organization has been able to pay down its corporate debt from $110 to $79 million during the recession, "a favorable per capita debt compared to other cities and towns," he said.
He mentioned also that the town would continue its efforts at attracting new jobs to the area by supporting the new Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership as well as several long-standing organizations to include the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, Trauma Intervention Program, Prevent Child Abuse and the CASA senior center.
In addition, town employees will see a cost of living pay increase, a two percent merit increase, and the restoration of a two percent 401K-retirement contribution.
Public Works Director Norm Davis said his department would continue its focus on transportation. He added that some of the Highway Users Revenue funds state legislature has diverted to DPS might be returned to local governments.
From those projected HURF monies, the department plans to complete 18 miles of chip seal, build the Enterprise Parkway from Valley Road to Highway 69 and partner with ADOT to construct several phases of the PV Pipeline and Central Core multi-use paths.
The department also will reinstate the popular transit voucher program through its partnership with NACOG.
In addition, the department plans the following projects:
Lakeshore Drive and Loos Drive sidewalk improvements
Floodplain study for the Viewpoint Drive connector
The police department's proposed $8.5 million budget will add a part-time animal control officer to the roster and allow police chief Bryan Jarrell to eliminate at least six ailing fleet vehicles.
The increase in the department's operating budget makes room for continued training for the officers and support staff. The department also will:
Upgrade its communications regarding in-car computers, crime scene mapping and officer cameras
Implement online access to the PVPD accident reports through a website
Increase staffing of special weapons and tactics team
Begin a new traffic-safety initiative and maintain a 1 collision per 70 residents accident per capita ratio
The Community Development department plans to purchase a new hybrid vehicle that all town departments may use, pursue a grant for software upgrades and for the housing rehabilitation program. Director Richard Parker said the new fiscal year may bring a 10 percent increase in housing permits and an 8-percent increase to transaction privilege taxes based on the opening of the Sprouts Market and two new retail centers, T.J. Maxx and Ulta.
This fiscal year, the department saw a 5.6 percent sales tax increase over the previous year's budget.
The Town Council will consider adopting the tentative budget at its May 22 regular council meeting.