The City of Orono adopted the 2021 city budget on Dec. 7. The city council stated that it is continuing its focus on ensuring long term funding for city-owned assets.
The city’s goal to capture 100 percent depreciation and become debt free are part of a bigger picture of saving residents around $300,000 annually, which is currently paid toward interest; as well as the establishment of consistent and stable funding for all city services that can meet the needs of the residents of the future.
Increases in the budget focus on areas that have been underfunded for a number of years with the establishment of the Building Fund Levy at $310,000, a special levy for Parks of $50,000 to augment development funds for parks capital expenditures and an increase of the roads levy to $750,000, a statement from the city states.
The general fund operational budget increased by $117,300 or 1.28 percent to $9,260,500, primarily to cover contracted wage increases, according to the city.
The city also adopted utility rates for 2021 with increases, which the city maintains are part of coping with a multi-year rate increase driven by increased Metropolitan Council charges, recycling mandates, higher construction costs and the need to meet fund balance reserve requirements.
The 2021 rate increases are the last in a series of larger increases, with subsequent years planned for nominal inflationary increases of 1 to 4 percent, according to the city