La Conner reviews 2019 budget

November 15, 2018

LA CONNER — The La Conner Town Council reviewed Tuesday the town’s $5.6 million draft budget for 2019.

The biggest change to the budget is it has less of a focus on capital improvement projects, Town Administrator Scott Thomas said.

He said La Conner is scaling back because revenue sources are not keeping up with inflation.

“We have limited amounts of land that can be developed and we don’t see a large increase in tax revenue from year to year with new construction,” Thomas said.

Instead of major undertakings such as the $1 million water line project along La Conner-Whitney Road currently underway, the town will focus on a few park projects and repairing the Maple Hall elevator, which has an estimated cost of $155,000.

On Tuesday, Mayor Ramon Hayes recommended La Conner take one to two years to allow revenue to build up before moving forward with large capital projects.

Council member Jacques Brunisholz stressed the importance of putting money down for a project known as the “ring dike,” which would serve as flood prevention for the town.

The project has been on the table since the mid-2000s, Thomas said.

“This is absolutely crucial,” Brunisholz said. “All will be for naught if we have a flood.”

Brunisholz noted La Conner’s flood prevention fund has gone down from previous years and he asked the council to move money around to enable $50,000 to be directed toward the $1 million project.

At its next meeting Nov. 27 the council will discuss whether that request is possible and will make a decision on whether to raise property taxes by 1 percent.

Thomas said there are no plans to raise or change other taxes.

La Conner welcomes public input before the budget is approved, likely by December.

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