City employees met this week to discuss ways they could save money in the 2011 fiscal year.

Payson, like other cities across the Wasatch Front, is belt tightening because of reduced revenues, primarily from a decrease in sales tax. Employees met with their department heads and to brainstorm penny-pinching ideas.

Sales taxes are predicted to fall another $120,000 in 2011, down from the current year decrease of $297,000. For 2010-2011, the city is budgeting $2 million in sales tax revenue.

The outlook for 2011 includes a 4 percent increase in utility rates and a sewer fee increase of 1 percent, while employee medical insurance premiums are climbing 12 percent. The city is headed toward employees picking up 5 percent of their medical coverage, City Administrator Richard Nelson said. The city has also cut the equivalent of five jobs and has frozen wages.

Employees now clean their own offices while police must scrub their own patrol cars.

Much of the city’s economic woes are tied to bond payments, including the swimming pool bond and the city’s commitment to support the UTOPIA statewide fiber optic project, Councilman Scott Phillip said.

Moore took a straw poll of employees and found none of them in favor of UTOPIA. However, the city is committed to the project for the next 18 years, Nelson said.

The 2010-11 fiscal year tentative general fund budget is $8.2 million. The total tentative budget is more than $25.7 million. The council will adopt the final budget in June.