The Missoula City Council on a vote of 10 to 2 this week, passed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, according to City Finance Officer Brent Ramharter.

'The council approved a $118 million dollar budget," Ramharter said Wednesday afternoon. "It encompasses about a 3.5 percent tax increase, which translates into about a $25 per year increase for a home valued at $250,000."

Ramherter said close to half the increase will go for a $400,000 sidewalk funding program.

"The city council deliberated on that issue for a good bit of last year," Ramherter said. "City property owners have been required to mitigate repairs of curbs and sidewalks on their property in the interest of public safety. Sometimes on corner lots. those assessments would run from $15,000 to $18,000 in repairs. The most common repairs were approximately $3,500. People were able to finance these repairs over 20 years."

The new funding program will limit the repair costs to homeowners.

"If you have a situation in which you could potentially have construction costs of up to $15,000, your maximum assessment under this proposal would be only $3,500," Ramharter said. "The city would then pick up the difference. Both residential and commercial property owners would share the benefits of this proposal."

Ramherter said the budget process will begin again about the first of the year.

Missoula City Finance Director Brent Ramharter