Sandpoint City Council approves $52.9M budget

Increase of 6.7% from FY 2023 attributed in part to wastewater treatment plant project

By Zach Hagadone
Reader Staff

Members of the Sandpoint City Council voted unanimously at their regular Aug. 16 meeting to approve a fiscal year 2024 budget of $52,974,269 — an aincrease of about $3.3 million, or 6.7%, from FY 2023 — attributable in large part to the city’s Enterprise Funds, which include the water and sewer funds.

Specifically, the FY ’24 budget includes about $6 million earmarked for the design and phased construction — including upgrades and replacements — for the wastewater treatment plant.

Sandpoint’s total operating budget will be $27,714,004 and capital improvements will account for $25,260,265.

The city anticipates collecting $4,864,014 in property taxes in the coming year, up only 1.5% from FY ’23. According to budget documents, for a home valued at $623,812, the increase would translate into $21.93 after applying the homeowner’s exemption.

Nearly $165,000 in property tax relief is due to revenues from the 14% Resort City Tax coming in higher than expected. Both the FY ’23 and ’24 budgets included $1.5 million in revenue collected from the tax — approved in 2022 and effective Jan. 1, 2023 — which is levied on hotels, bed and breakfasts, and short-term vacation rentals.

By comparison, before voters passed the 7% increase, the Resort City Tax brought in between $558,000 and $615,000 in FY ’21 and ’22.

“The revenue source has increased substantially in the past few years as the economy has improved and tourism has increased,” according to the city’s budget breakdown.

Meanwhile, city employees will see a boost in pay to keep pace with regional agencies and to adjust for potential increases in health insurance costs, rising from $8.9 million to $9.6 million in FY ’24. 

Overall, expenses across the city’s various divisions either increased because of one-time projects or remained level with last year’s budgets.

City budget writers asked for and received from council approval to levy $50,717 of the available $284,538 in forgone property tax from years prior, which will be used to purchase public safety vehicles.

The two largest expenditures in the FY ’24 budget will be $8.8 million from the Wastewater Fund — which includes the wastewater treatment plant project — and $8.4 million from the Parks Capital Improvement Fund. Capital projects come in third, with approximately $6.3 million in expenditures during the fiscal year.

The city has more than 30 capital improvement projects included in its FY ’24 budget, with the biggest-ticket items amounting to $9 million for parks and recreation planning and culture services — the bulk of that being $7 million for the James E. Russell Sports Center at Travers Park.

Other notable projects include $475,000 for the final phase of downtown street work, focused on rebuilding First Avenue from Church to Lake streets. Funding will come from the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency, and the city will hire a consultant to begin design of Phase 3 of the project, which is estimated to be completed in late-November 2026.

Elsewhere, impact fees totaling $500,000 will be leveraged toward the “Short-Term East-West Connection” project, converting Pine Street to two-way travel between Fifth and Fourth avenues and relocating the traffic signal at Church Street and Fifth Avenue to Fifth and Pine Street. That is expected to be complete in late-September 2024.

In addition, the reconstruction of Great Northern Road from Baldy Mountain Road to Woodland Drive is included in the budget, totaling $1.9 million, with an estimated completion date of late-September 2029.

Despite a raft of high-profile projects, General Fund expenditures are expected to decrease $760,000 while Special Revenue Funds will fall $141,000.

Find the full FY ’24 budget book at

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