PROSSER -- As expected, Prosser's 2011 general fund budget will be smaller than in 2010 -- but only $200,000 smaller.
Officials predicted the city coffers would suffer about a $300,000 loss because the ConAgra plant closure that saw nearly 250 jobs disappear.
The city council will consider approving the proposed $4.3 million budget Tuesday. It is 4.4 percent less than the 2010 spending plan.
The city's general fund and capital expense budget for next year are about $23 million compared with $25 million this year.
"ConAgra cost us," said Toni Yost, the city's assistant finance director. The plant closure was expected to cause $200,000 less in water fees and about $115,000 less in the general fund because of less utility tax revenue.
Utility taxes represent nearly one-third of Prosser's general fund revenue.
In all, city projected revenues will be about $141,000 below this year.
But Prosser residents are not likely to see any big shift in their property taxes, even with the 1 percent increase allowed by state law. The 1 percent will bring in about $11,731 citywide.
The council approved that increase Tuesday with council members Terry Chambers and Ernest Troemel opposing it.
Yost told the council the new tax levy will be $3.28 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The tax bill on a $100,000 home would be $328 a year. This year it was 2 cents less per $1,000.
The council learned last month that new construction valued at about $8.6 million this year will add about $25,000 in new property tax revenue for 2011, but it is way down from a year ago, when major construction at the ConAgra plant jumped the city's new construction total to $37 million.
Sales tax collections are also falling. The city expects to collect $971,850 next year -- $51,000 less than this year.
Despite the gloomy report that predicts $50,000 less in water and irrigation revenue and $9,000 less in the sewer revenue because of the plant closure, citizens can expect no rate increases in water, irrigation and sewer rates in 2011. But that could be a point of discussion at Tuesday's meeting.
City Administrator Charlie Bush said the proposal will support priorities including gang prevention and law enforcement, as well as core services to the community despite staff cuts.
"We've been eliminating positions for two years based on attrition, and we will cut one dispatch position in the police department by the end of this year," Bush said.
He noted that the general fund budget for 2011 will be smaller than it was in 2007.