Tuesday, March 2, 2021
March 2, 2021

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Battle Ground officials enthusiastic about city’s 2021 budget

Mayor says fiscal position better than what he’s ever seen

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter
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Battle Ground City Hall.
Battle Ground City Hall. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Battle Ground city officials are bullish about the city’s $53.6 million total budget in 2021, despite uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget, approved by the city council on Dec. 21, includes several funds. Largest among them is the general fund at $15.6 million.

“I have never seen a fiscal budget or a fiscal position as good as what we have right now,” Mayor Adrian Cortes said in late October. “You wouldn’t think that would be the case given how we’re going through COVID.”

City officials point to the voters’ decision in February to annex Battle Ground into Clark County Fire District 3’s coverage area. The annexation freed up revenue previously spent on contracts with the district, which totaled about $3 million per year.

New spending areas include $1.2 million for the city Streets Fund, $582,077 for law enforcement — for increased traffic patrols, investigation ability, community outreach and re-implementing the K-9 program — and $77,000 for city parks and streets maintenance. The city will also direct $100,000 toward a master plan for parks and recreation resources.

“Those are promises we made when we did the annexation, so we’re going to be following through on those,” Cortes said.

The council opted not to enact a property tax levy, which is limited under state law to 1 percent each year.

Growth that occurred in the city in 2020 will provide an additional $122,776 in property taxes, according to the city. With more property owners sharing the load, the property tax levy rate will decrease from $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2020 to $1.29 per $1,000 in 2021.

Columbian county government and small cities reporter
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