Williamsport City Council (Miele, Yoder, Beiter, Pullizzi, Mackey and Allison) updated.jpg

Image featuring the portraits of the Williamsport City Council members set against RVT 2. 

Williamsport, Pa. — A proposed 2023 budget was presented to the Williamsport City Council at the city’s first budget session Wednesday night.

The proposed budget, presented by Mayor Derek Slaughter and acting-Finance Director Tracy Rash, is $28,669,105 and comes with no tax increase. This is an increase of $1.2 million over the 2022 budget.

Rash said some portions of the budgets are only estimates as the River Valley Transit Authority had not provided them with “accurate, viable data.”

Slaughter also commented on the budget, calling it “accurate to the best of our ability given the antiquated accounting systems, lack of some reconciliation and audits for the past four years and time constraints.”

A major change over past budgets is a restructuring of the capital projects fund. Rash said $2 million will be transferred from ARPA funds to set up savings for purchases that the department heads said they needed.

Rash said that this $2 million will allow departments to fund certain capital purchases for 2023 and allow for savings towards future investments.

For example, Memorial Pool needs a new filtration system. The current one was installed in the ‘80s and uses a substance that, according to Public Works Director Scott Livermore, is “harmful to people.”

Newly upgraded filters are expected to cost around $200,000. Livermore plans to purchase them in 2027 by setting aside $40,000 each year into capital projects for that purchase. They will continue to put $40,000 aside for the filters planned five-year lifespan. 

Every department has their own individual line items for capital projects.  

A combination of $21,170,389 in tax revenue and a 92% collection rate makes up the bulk of the funding for the budget. Other large funding sources include  $4,020,516 in federal grants, a $3 million increase over 2022.

This large increase is accounted for by the $25 million in ARPA funds the city has received, of which only around $5 million has been allocated. The rest of the ARPA funds must be allocated by 2024 and spent by 2026.

The remainder of the budget funds will be directed toward other grants, department earnings, account interest, fines, licensing and permits.

The largest expenditures are for the police and fire departments, with a proposed budget of $10,836,741 and $7,515,797 respectively. This marks a $593,632 increase for the police budget from 2022, and a $778,595 increase for the fire department.

This is just a proposed budget at this stage. The budget can be amended prior to final approval, which is expected to take place at the Dec. 8 council meeting. Another budget session is scheduled to take place before that on Monday, Nov. 21.

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