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Estherville City budget to increase 10.24 percent in FY14

Primary increase is wastewater treatment plant improvements

February 4, 2013
By David Swartz - Managing Editor , Estherville Daily News

At its regular meeting on Monday, the Estherville City Council set the public hearing for the proposed 2013-14 budget hearing for 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 21.

City finance director and clerk Elizabeth Burton outlined the changes in the budget from 2012-13 to the upcoming budget year.

The proposed budget includes an increase of approximately $1,555,323 to $16,738.279 or 10.24 percent. The primary reason for the increase are capital expenses including the major project at the wastewater treatment plant.

Article Photos

The top graph shows how Estherville city dollars are spent and the bottom graph shows what services property taxes are spent on.

Council had approved a bid awarding the sale general obligation bonds for the project earlier in the meeting.

The proposed property tax levy will remain at $16.50 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. The rate has been constant since 2005.

The property tax rollback as issued by the State of Iowa on residential property has increased from 50.7518 percent to 52.8166 percent. This means that residential property owners will pay tax on a higher percentage of home value and the total tax paid will increase even though the levy remains constant. Since commercial and industrial properties do not have a rollback, they will see no change as a result of the city's levy unless their valuations change. Property valuation is determined by the county assessor.

Fact Box

City of Estherville Budgets*
* Information presented at Monday’s Council meeting

Wages and employee benefits continue to account for a significant portion of budgets. A 2 percent wage increase for FY 2014 was negotiated with both unions. The city's contribution to IPERS will crease from 8.67 percent to 8.93 percent of wages, a 2.9 percent increase and the city's contribution to MFPRSI (police pension) will increase from 26.12 percent to 30.12 percent of allowable compensation, a 15.3 percent increase. Continuing increases in MFPRSI are projected in upcoming years, possibly up to 37 percent.

A self-fund health insurance program was initiated on July 1, 2011 , with no increase in premiums from the prior year. Based on the success of the self-fund program, no increase in premiums is anticipated for the upcoming fiscal year.

The state legislature is considering two items, which could have significant consequence for the city. One is rolling back commercial property valuations that could reduce general fund revenue. The second is modifications to Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Since the five TIF districts were established increase taxable valuation of over $17 million is available for use by the community college, school, county and cit to generate property tax on.

During fiscal year 2013-14, an increase in the city's cost of wholesale power will require an electric rate increase. The cost to repay the debt for the general obligation bond for the wastewater treatment plant will require an increase in wastewater rates.



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