Hermiston Adopts 2013-14 Budget

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The Hermiston City Council adopted its 2013-14 budget Monday night with an amendment to upgrade the city’s e-mail server and software.

The $50,558,023 budget comes in at about $10 million less than the current fiscal year budget, primarily due to a reduction in projected expenditures on the city’s new wastewater treatment facility. The city had been appropriating the full cost of the facility, but the 2013-14 budget includes only funds the city expects to spend during the next fiscal year.

The new budget closely resembles the current budget.

“Almost all operating funds are pretty much what it is for the current fiscal year,” said Hermiston City Manager Ed Brookshier, who also noted some rate increases will likely take place in 2014.

“We are again going into our cash reserves to balance the energy services fund,” he said. “BPA costs have been increasing and we’ve been absorbing them rather than passing it on to our customers. But we do expect another increase in wholesale rates from Bonneville Power Administration and we will look at a rate increase in 2014.”

The new budget also anticipates some extensive renovations to the Hermiston Safety Center as well as the addition of perimeter fencing at the Hermiston Airport.

The budget adopted Monday night included an amendment to upgrade the city’s e-mail server and software. The cost of the upgrades is about $20,000.

“This is something that needs to be done one way or another and the cost is not that much,” said Brookshier.

“The system is clunky and slow,” said City Councilor George Anderson. “This also has to do with the issues of security and hacking. A lot of bad things can happen if your system is not secure. This needs to be a priority.”

A few minor corrections were made to the budget Monday, reducing the original city-wide budget from $50,559,113 to $50,558,023. The budget is posted on the city’s website, but it does not reflect the corrections made Monday night.