The Avondale City Council approved its final budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year Monday. The budget is up approximately 8.7 percent to $174,347,906.
The budget is up from last year’s total of $159,557,020. The two largest increases in the budget from the previous year come from the general fund and capital projects, up $4,891,600 and $8,968,560 respectively.
“One of the reasons it’s up is because we are planning to fund the fire staffing for the Northwest Public Safety Facility,” said Pilar Aguilar, Avondale Finance and Budget Department assistant director. “Right now, there’s only the police side of the facility, and we’re going to go ahead and complete that and set it up to provide fire and medical services.”
The Northwest Public Safety Facility, just north of the Estrella Mountain Community College campus, has been in operation since November 2010.
The only change to the final budget from the tentative budget was a movement of funds — $20,000 was diverted from the contingency fund to the contributions assistance program.
“Normally, there are no changes,” Aguilar said. “That was the only change, they couldn’t increase, just moved in between [programs].”
The general fund is up $4,891,600 from last year’s $43,068,270 to $47,959,870. The general fund covers the resources needed to sustain the day-to-day activities of the government. Police and fire services and the Avondale court all fall under the general fund.
Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers said she commended the City Council for making decisions without disrupting services critical to Avondale’s residents.
“I feel very good about where we are in our financial condition right now,” Lopez Rogers said.
The capital projects budget is up about 12 percent from last year, Aguilar said. Of the nearly $40 million budgeted last year, only about $4.4 million was spent.
“It’s up primarily due to projects now moving forward that we deferred in the past,” Aguilar said.
Two of the major projects for the upcoming fiscal year are improvements to the wastewater treatment plant and street enhancements.
A lot of the projects the city is taking on were initially allotted for last year and weren’t completed and have carried over, City Manager Charlie McClendon said.
Some of the major projects slated to be worked on are:
• Avondale Boulevard and Buckeye Road intersection improvements.
• Central Avenue improvements in Historic Avondale.
• McDowell Road improvements from Avondale Boulevard to the Agua Fria River.
• Enhancements to Friendship Park.
• Running water and sewer lines from South Avondale to Phoenix International Raceway.
McClendon said the water and sewer line project has been ongoing for a few years, and the city has budgeted the funds to finally complete it this year. The friendship park upgrades will add more ramadas and parking.
The Central Avenue upgrade is being done with federal funds, McClendon said. Part of the Avondale Boulevard and Buckeye Road intersection upgrades are also federally funded.
Staffing, property tax
Aguilar said the city is adding 15 positions for public safety staffing.
“This is the first year we’ve added that many positions,” Aguilar said. “We were reducing there for quite a while.”
Aguilar said the budget process was routine this year, with the biggest challenge coming from making sure the fire station component of the Northwest Public Safety Facility was funded.
Avondale is also proposing a 2.01 percent property tax increase over last year’s level.
The proposed increase would cause primary property taxes on a $100,000 home to increase from $77.29 to $78.84 annually.
Shane McOwen can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.