The Clarkdale general fund is getting a slight uptick next fiscal year, increasing by more than 1.7 percent.
Council members held a final run-through of the budget numbers Tuesday afternoon in a special worksession. Finance director Kathy Bainbridge said council members are voting June 24 to adopt the preliminary budget, and a final budget vote follows on July 22.
"We don't have a lot of latitude remaining in this budget cycle," she said. "Not many of the preliminary budget assumptions have changed."
At more than $3.57 million, the general fund relfects increases in county revenues and state sales tax. The budget also projects $40,000 in new income from Verde River outfitter fees.
The wastewater treatment plant was constructed through a $5.5-million loan from Arizona's Water Infrastructure Finance Authority.
Bainbridge said income from the once-stalled Mountain Gate housing development could be used to sidestep hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest over 10 years.
"That is a huge amount to be saving and not have to raise rates anymore," Bainbridge said.
Town Manager Gayle Mabery said the town was able to renegotiate with the development after it got back up and running.
"We had always anticipated using the fund from Mountain Gate to build the wastewater treatment plant," Mabery said.
Rather than saving the funds for maintenance and operations for the plant, Bainbridge said, Clarkdale would put $660,000 toward the principal before the loan is closed out, changing the ammoritization schedule.
"It's saving us over a million dollars over 10 years," Bainbridge said.
The loan's conditions state the town can't pay down the loan in the first 10 years, but the town can make this one payment in July before taking the last withdrawal from the WIFA account and closing out the loan.
If the council waits, she said, there would have to be a whole process in the future requiring a council resolution and special permission from WIFA.
This also avoids another $5 rate increase for customers above the five they were expecting. Originally, the town expected to use less than the full $5.5 million loan, but costs to remove sludge from the lagoon were higher than expected, said utilities director Wayne Debrosky.
Council members were concerned a major repair or maintenance issue would arise in the next year, and there wouldn't be funds to fall back on.
Debrosky said the plant is new enough that major, expensive repairs will likely not be necessary.
"If we were celebrating the 20th birthday of the wastewater treatment plant, I would not be up here saying this," he said.
The preliminary budget also shows increases in the sanitation, wastewarer operations and water operation funds, while the capital improvements fund saw a decrease of more than 3.5 percent.