LA GRANDE – During the latest City of La Grande Council meeting (Wednesday, June 2, 2021) the budget committee and Council adopted the budgets for the 2021/22 fiscal year. The Urban Renewal Agency was adopted as the Budget Committee approved it. The Urban Renewal Budget includes $1,050,000 for capital project programs. Of this amount, $525,000 is new funding for existing programs including the Façade Grants, $75,000; non-Business Park Call for Projects, $350,000; and $100,000 for Agency identified, pro-actively targeted improvement project in the Central Business Zone.
The Urban Renewal and City General Fund budgets reflects an Urban Renewal under levy which will provide an estimated $205,022 of additional revenues to the City without eliminating core economic development programs.
The City of La Grande’s General Fund Proposed Budget was approved as amended, with the changes being an increase of $5,000 in funding for the Blue Mountain Humane Association (BMHA), bringing the City’s total contribution to $14,500. BMHA had sent a letter to all the cities asking for funding, which was read during the public comments portion of the hearing. Also read were 13 letters of support for the Cook Memorial Library’s budget. The Library’s proposal included adding two part-time staff to reopen on Saturdays. The only other staffing increase was a new clerk/receptionist position at the Police Department. The Fire Department’s request includes replacing a 12-year old ambulance with over 200,000 miles.
The City’s approved FY 2021-22 General Fund budget has $13,799,655 of estimated expenditures. The budget also includes $2 million in anticipated Federal funding related to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Estimates are La Grande will receive $2.7 million over two years with the specific uses to be determined by the City Council once the Federal requirements are finalized.
The City’s Enterprise Fund and Other Budgets were also approved as presented. These include Water, Sewer, Streets and Roads, and Building Inspections. The City is not considering any increases in Water or Sewer rates again this year.
The City Council was asked to increase the Grants and Donations Budget by $225,000 over what the Budget Committee had approved to enable the City to accept $225,000 from the School District and EOU to fund artificial turf improvements for an expanded project scope. The City had already budgeted $25,000 towards the project, but in the closing days of the Budget Committee Hearings, the School District asked that the project be expanded to also include the softball field, which meant we would need to adjust the budget to receive the increased funding and then spend it when the project is complete. The amount was within the 10% limit for budget increases and is fully offset by increased funding from EOU and the School District.