CONCRETE — The town of Concrete on Monday reviewed a draft $2.9 million budget for 2022 and approved increases for local property taxes and the utility tax rate.

The town received no public comment during three hearings Monday — on the overall budget, the 1% property tax increase towns and cities are allowed to take each year, and increasing the utility rate from 6% to 8.25%.

The property tax increase could bring the town an additional $5,270 for the year, according to town documents.

The utility tax rate increase, meanwhile, is needed partly to keep revenues the same as Niagara Bottling Co. plans to purchase less water from the town in 2022, according to budget documents. Customers will see an increase of $3.10 to $3.25 per month on their monthly water bills next year.

In addition to those changes approved Monday, the council agreed in October to increase staff salaries by 4% — in an effort to keep up with increasing minimum wage and health insurance costs — and to revisit mid-year whether additional pay increases are feasible.

Overall, the draft budget shows an increase of $51,005 over the 2021 budget.

That continues the town’s trend of seeing slight growth year to year. The 2021 budget was $2.8 million and the 2020 budget $2.7 million.

The town’s 2021 budget included about $130,000 for decommissioning and filling the old wastewater lagoon and about $151,430 for street, water, park and airport projects.

Also Monday, the council approved a one-time $3,000 bonus for Public Works Director Terry Coggins for what they said was impressive dedication and performance in the job, especially during recent flooding.

“He has stepped up tremendously,” council member Marla Reed said. “If anybody deserves a bonus, it’s (him).”

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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