Parker may have to raise taxes or cut services over the next decade

Over the next 10 years, the city of Parker may have to either cut services or raise taxes, according to a July 18 presentation to city council.

Partly because the city is nearing construction, revenue growth is expected to slow significantly, said Mary Lou Brown, the city’s chief financial officer.

“We really need to have serious conversations about tax increases or major new revenue streams, probably within the next two years,” she said.

Current projections show the city’s cash balance declining and in some cases turning negative by 2032.

“The planned cash balance of the general fund is insufficient from 2030 and the balance of the recreation fund is insufficient in 2031,” according to the presentation. “Parks and Recreation and Public Improvement Funds have years where the cash balance dips too low.”

Some of the factors beyond construction that impact the city’s financial situation are inflation, the possibility of a recession, the growth of personnel to cope with a growing population, and aging infrastructure.

The city expects to see lower revenue growth from building permits, property taxes, sales tax, use tax and excise tax.

The city’s sales tax is expected to increase at a rate of 8% in 2023, 7% in 2024 and 5% from 2025 to 2032, according to the presentation. Excise tax revenue is expected to increase until 2026 and then remain stable. The use tax should decrease.

Mayor Jeff Toborg told city council in April that he planned to lead a citizens’ initiative to repeal the portion of sales tax that comes from home food purchases, also known as the produce tax. groceries. City council members said they did not approve of such a measure, and legal staff recommended that Toborg clarify that he is not speaking on behalf of council when supporting the measure.

After the finance presentation, Toborg confirmed that his citizens’ group was still working to put the repeal question on the ballot.

To deal with future funding cuts, the city can either increase taxes or reduce or eliminate some of its services. Brown also suggested the city could offset declines in the recreation fund by raising fees for those services.

The public improvement fund will have a “too low” cash balance between 2024 and 2027, according to the presentation. This ministry expects expenditures of $199 million over the next 10 years.

Some of these projects and their projected costs include:

  • Extension of Dransfeldt Road, south of Twenty Mile Road: $21.4 million
  • Widening of Lincoln Avenue between Keystone Boulevard and Parker Road, $18.8 million
  • Widening of Crowfoot Valley Road from Stroh Road to city limits, $14.7 million
  • Widening of Chambers Road to Stroh Road and Crowfoot Valley Road, $11.2 million
  • Widening of Stroh Road between J Morgan Boulevard and Motsenbocker Road, $10.3 million
  • Improvements to Jordan Road and Lincoln Avenue, $6.9 million
  • Extension of J Morgan Boulevard in Reata, $6.8 million

Brown added that everything in the city’s budget is linked, and small changes such as staff increases could have a big impact.

“There is no decision we make that is a stand-alone decision,” she said. “Everything impacts something else in one way or another.”

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