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A look at West Point’s financial past, future

West Point’s  city council held a work session Thursday night in which the 2017 city audit was presented.

According to Robyn Underwood, who presented the audit to the council, the net position, which encompasses everything including the general fund and governmental funds, increased $1,936,102 overall. Of this, the major general fund capital purchases were street paving — $166,832 — and real estate —$100,220.

Due to a decrease in property taxes from within the commercial sector, overall tax revenue collected by the city decreased $398,000. These decreased property taxes combined with a decrease in capital contributions caused a gross revenue decrease of $778,000.

The total general fund expenditures increased over $200,000 from the prior year, prompting a proprietary fund transfer to the general fund for $415,000. This is up $380,000 from 2016.

Mayor Steve Tramell showed concern over the transferred amount, asking Underwood if she expected “as big of a transfer from our proprietary funds” in 2018. Underwood was uncertain, but said she didn’t think that would be a necessity.

Overall, the city council showed confidence about their previous year and are looking forward to 2018’s fiscal year.

“…The City of West Point has a strong financial position [and] our budget has continued to grow over the last decade,” City Manager Ed Moon said.

The financial future of West Point looks bright, with council members choosing to put the city’s money towards growing the city. The 2018 budget process began on August 3 and was in the works until December 11 of last year. It’s proposed general fund totals $7,150,978

“The 2018 budget is a continuation of the high level of service that is delivered by the city each day,” the official 2018 budget proposal reads. “With a general fund emphasis on public safety, which is second to none, the city has the staff and equipment to be there when called.”

This sentiment is certainly reflected in the fund, with nearly a third of all monies going towards Police and Fire. The total recommended budget for the city in 2018 is reduced by 3.4 percent, primarily due to one-time PILOT funds received last year. Also, no increases in taxes or fees are recommended in the proposed budget.

According to the city’s official proposed budget, utility costs will have an overall reduction of 1.2 percent. The largest reduction will be in natural gas spending thanks to “trending mild winter weather.”