April showers bring May flowers…and budget blooms!

What IS a city budget? It’s a document that shows all the money coming in and going out. When it comes to West Jordan, this means recording every cent of the millions of dollars that flow through city bank accounts.

From January to May, the Mayor spends many hours with each city department, from parks to communications, finance to economic development. Together, they decide on the city’s greatest needs and projects and set aside money to cover all the expected, and save for the unexpected, costs of running a stable and well-functioning government.

When the City Council has the budget in front of them, they will spend the next few weeks discussing and compromising on what they see as priority based on the needs of the residents and financial health of the city.

The budget process is a push-and-pull of wills, wants and ‘best practice’.

The Council is required to vote for and adopt a budget for the year by the end of June. The city operates on a “fiscal year”, which begins July 1 and ends the following June 30. This means the 2025 budget will cover July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025.

Money comes to the city from three main categories:

  • Property Tax – A tax collected from residential and business property owners.
  • Sales Tax –  A tax collected from purchases made through businesses within West Jordan’s borders.
  • Fees – Water, sewer, court fines, police records fees, ambulance fees, park rentals, business licenses, etc..

Some money is stuck where it was earned. Meaning, water fees pay for water employees and maintenance. Sewer fees are the same.

Money that comes in from property and sales tax is more liquid and goes into what is called the General Fund. Here are some examples of where General Fund money is spent:

  • City owned roads – filling potholes, resurfacing, building new ones.
  • Parks – water for the grass, playground equipment, lawn mowers and paying someone to drive it, sprinkler parts.
  • Community events and celebrations
  • Animal Control
  • City Attorney salaries
  • Mayor and City Council salaries
  • Crossing Guards
  • Fire/Police – salaries, ambulances, fire trucks, cars, uniforms, safety equipment, hydrant maintenance.
  • Other city staff and support
  • Victim Advocates

Want to have an influence on how the city spends its money? Here are three easy ways:

aerial view of West Jordan neighborhood