WILLCOX — In fiscal year 2022, the city of Willcox budget is projected to be more than $7.2 million, a big jump from fiscal years 2020 and 2021 when it was more than $4.4 million.

Revenues

Willcox projects to bring in more than $1.8 million in tax revenues for fiscal year 2022, compared to the more than $2 million that was budgeted for fiscal year 2021.

Revenues from licenses and permits are looking to be $316,228 in 2022. In 2021 the budgeted revenue total was $325,208.

The city will receive $997,644 in intergovernmental funding. Funds from Twin Lakes Golf Course are projected to rise to more than $147,000 and outside revenues are expected to jump up to more than $3.3 million.

“We were never shut down (due to the pandemic),” City Manager Caleb Blaschke said. “So everything in Willcox, we tried to be open as much as possible. The council wanted to keep Willcox open. I think the bigger thing that’s been shared with the Arizona Office of Tourism is that people that traditionally spend their money in California and other areas kept it local.

“So they looked for in-state things, because California shut its doors to everyone. I think people have really discovered what there is to do in Cochise County and specifically Willcox.”

Expenditures

In 2022, the city projects a rise in overall expenditures of more than $7 million compared to the $4,403,608 that was budgeted in 2021.

In ‘22 the budgeted overall total expenditures for administration and finance are projected to rise to $657,560, compared to $644,991 for 2021.

In 2022 salaries are set to rise to $364,488, a hike from 2021’s $337,165. This is a direct result of a planned 5% increase in city employee pay based on merit, according to Blaschke and City Clerk Crystal Hadfield.

In ‘22, the mayor and council expect to increase spending to more than $108,000, mainly related to capital improvement expenses related to repairing the City Hall roof. In 2021, the spending was budgeted at $68,577.

“Just your typical operations of city government,” Blaschke said. “We have some larger capital items, getting our buildings maintained and getting them up to where they need to be right now, our city hall here.

“There’s some budget funds for that, a new roof, new windows, new painting.

“So, I’d say a lot of it’s maintenance. Other things are just to accomplish some council’s goals. There’s some funds in there for downtown revitalization efforts.

“There’s also a community app that the council wanted to create that allows the community to access anything that’s going on here in Willcox. So they’ll have that information right at their figure tips on an app. This is going to be a new app. We just put some funds aside for it.”

Hafield said the mayor and council budgeted $40,000 for the downtown revitalization and the community app.

In 2022, spending for marketing, tourism and economic development is projected to rise significantly to $187,869 compared to the previous year’s $152,085.

The total expenditures for transportation-transit is set to increase to $212,423 as a direct result of the new dial-a-ride shuttle service that will begin operations with one van in the fall. Blaschke said the goal is to eventually have two vehicles.

“This year we will be receiving CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds as well as the Transit Grant funds, which we did not receive in years prior,” Hadfield said.

Departments that are set to spend more money in 2022 are: Public Safety: admin, patrol, investigations; Library; Public Works: swimming pool; Public Works: cemetery; Public Works: buildings, grounds, parks; and Public Works:golf course.

The Public Safety department’s admin, patrol, investigation spending is projected to rise to more than $1.6 million in 2022. Some of the costs associated with this increase are $45,000 in capital purchases (new emergency equipment for vehicles) and an hike to $639,586 for employee salaries.

As for the library, the city plans to replace a retiring employee’s position with a full-time position. That employee’s duties will include getting involved with recreation programs in the community and providing more aid in workforce development programs.

The Public Works department is seeing an increase in swimming pool spending as the city plans to build a new pool.

The city has received a $1.5 million grant from the Arizona state parks department for the pool and will look for a loan to cover the 50% match provision.

The Public Works department is set to increase its cemetery-related spending by more than $103,000. The aim is to improve water usage with a look toward a zeroscape solution.

The Public Works department expects to increase spending in buildings, grounds and parks by over $2.2 million. This a direct result of the first phase of a $4 million budgeted project aimed at revitalizing city parks, the city pool and the rodeo grounds at Quail Park arena.

The Public Works department is projecting to spend more than $331,000 for the operation/maintenance of the city-owned Twin Lakes Golf Course.

“Golf course budget is increasing because there was a position in the past that wasn’t fully allocated and that position is over there 100% of the time,” Blaschke said. “So it’s just correcting past budgets and making sure expenses are where they’re supposed to be.”

The Willcox Animal Shelter is projecting to see spending for 2022 drop to $100,144.

Fixing city streets

Blaschke said the city will focus on Scott Street and Ironwood Lane. He said that in previous years, street maintenance was budgeted at $80,000-$100,000. In the last two to three years, the council has almost quadrupled that amount.

“So now with street maintenance, last year it was $236,000,” Blaschke said. “This year it’s going to be closer to $300,000. So the council’s continuing to put more money into streets, to really focus on improving our city streets.”

The budget will be presented by Blaschke and Hadfield to the city council Thursday during the regular city council meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Willcox City Hall.

Following this meeting there will be a public hearing that was previously announced as taking place on July 15. That public hearing will also take place during a regular city council meeting.

All city council meetings and public hearings are open to the public.

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