City approves 2022-23 budget

A 2022-23 Piedmont municipal budget 3 percent smaller than the soon-to-conclude current one-year budget was unanimously approved Monday night by the City Council.

The slightly smaller 2022-23 overall budget, pored over at length at the June 6 City Council meeting’s first reading, is a reflection primarily of lower property-related tax revenue. And while the city’s heavy reliance on property tax-related revenue has mostly been a stabilizing advantage over the years, city officials said on June 6 that the high rate of inflation, and higher interest rates that have already occurred, may well mean fewer home sales in coming years. That would adversely affect house sales, and thus the city’s budget.

The 2022-23 budget is based on a projection of General Fund revenues of $33,953,000. That compares with $34,912,000 projected for the current 2021-22 fiscal year, and represents a 3 percent drop.

Monday’s approval calls for $33,864,402 in General Fund expenditures, an increase of 7 percent from 2021-22 expenditure levels. Sixty-four percent of that is ticketed for personnel costs.

In Piedmont in 2021-22, property-related taxes – property tax revenues, real property transfer taxes, parcel tax revenue and property tax in lieu of Motor Vehicle License Fees – accounted for 72 percent of the general fund budget. Those taxes are expected to account for 71 percent of the new one-year budget.

The new 2022-23 budget includes 4 percent increases in the city’s Municipal Services Special Tax and its Special Municipal Sewer Tax. The Municipal Services tax on homes up to 4,999 square feet will now rise from $551 a year to $573, and for homes up to 9,999 square feet will jump from $620 to $644 a year. The sewer tax on homes of up to 4,999 square feet will rise from $625 to $651 annually, and from $712 to $741 a year for homes of 5,000 to 9,999 square feet. Larger homes, and businesses, will see similar percentage increases.

With no changes from the various numbers presented on June 6, there was little discussion of the 2022-23 budget on Monday night, other than for Mayor Teddy Gray King and Councilmember Betsy Smegal Andersen to compliment city staff — notably Michael Szczech, Piedmont’s finance director, and City Administrator Sara Lillevand — for its work to create the new budget.

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