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Coeur d'Alene approves $123 million budget, 2-year contract for firefighters

Coeur d'Alene City Council approved the budget on a 5-1 vote following public hearing, with Councilman Dan Gookin voting no.
Credit: Coeur d'Alene Press
From left, councilmembers Dan English, Christie Wood, Dan Gookin and Mayor Jim Hammond.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The Coeur d’Alene City Council on Tuesday approved a $123.9 million budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, as reported by our news partners, the Coeur d'Alene Press.

It also unanimously approved a two-year contract with Coeur d’Alene firefighters, Local No. 710, International Association of Firefighters.

The council approved the budget on a 5-1 vote following public hearing, with Councilman Dan Gookin voting no.

The council went into executive session for discussions about police and firefighter contracts before approving the budget.

"I don't see how we can possibly pass the budget without that critical information," said Councilwoman Christie Wood.

The council emerged about an hour later to approve the budget, and then the contract.

“The revenue includes new growth from property taxes, new growth from the closing of the Lake District and the allowed 3% but no forgone property taxes,” according to a city budget analysis. “This will not cause an increase in taxes over all to City residents but most homeowners will see an increase due to the large increase in taxable valuation to residential property owners in comparison to commercial property owners.”

The budget includes the allowable 3% increase in property taxes, which is projected to generate $710,216.

General fund expenditures totaled $57.1 million, with $22.1 million for the police department and $13.3 million for the fire department. Another $7.9 million is earmarked for streets and engineering.

Enterprise funds of $55.3 million included $23.7 million for the wastewater fund and $14.3 million for the water fund.

Revenue includes $27 million in property tax revenue — an increase of $2.6 million over the previous year.

The closure of the Lake District, an urban renewal district, is expected to generate about $930,000.

“This is a very solid year for the city of Coeur d’Alene," said City Administrator Troy Tymesen.

The city’s latest taxable valuation came in at about $12 billion, a nearly 80% increase.

Tymesen said the levy rate was $3.48 per $1,000 per assessed valuation. It will drop to $2.07 per $1,000.

He said new growth is projected at $268,000, “less than we’ve seen in the last seven years.”

Gookin said he believed there were items that could be cut in the budget.

“There is a lot of stuff in here that are wants, not needs,” he said.

Gookin also opposed the 3% property tax hike, saying the country is on the cusp of a recession.

“I don’t want to be imposing upon taxpayers who are already being pinched by food and energy costs,” he said.

Gookin was also critical of holding a public hearing on the budget Tuesday, what he called late in the process.

"The train has left the station," he said.

Councilman Woody McEvers defended the city’s budget plan. He said for about $1.50 a day, he receives police, fire, parks, streets, snow removal and leaf-pickup services.

“I think it’s quite a value,” he said.

McEvers said the city has long been conservative in its spending, but it can’t always go with what is the most economical or the cheapest.

“Mostly, it’s the citizens who have to put the value on what they get,” he said.

The agreement with Local No. 710, IAFF will be in effect from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2024.

It includes a 6% market adjustment increase in year one, and 3% market adjustment increase in year two. It also includes a one-time $5,000 payment to each person represented by the union, payable in January. Include union representation in the hiring process for the fire chief.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our partners, click here.

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