The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

January 31, 2013

Clinton budget discussions: Options could create city budget surplus



City tinkers with tax levy

Clinton residents faced a higher tax levy than proposed last week by city officials due to valuation changes with two major entities.

But with temporary measures, that tax hike will be averted and the property tax increase will be less than originally anticipated.

Interim City Administrator Jessica Kinser learned last week that Home Depot had a valuation decrease that had a negative impact on a number of the city’s levies. Wild Rose, which is currently in a TIF area, also had a lowered valuation affecting the debt service levy.

While Kinser said both valuation changes had minimal impact on the various levies, that impact still sent the potential total levy above 17 mils, a threshold Kinser said she was trying not to cross.

In order to avoid setting a levy greater than 17 mils, Kinser identified two areas that would provide relief for the next fiscal year.

First, the Municipal Transit Authority saw an increase in the state operating grant it receives due to the increased ridership it experienced with the Ashford Loop. The city will be able to avoid an increase in the transit levy and levy for the same amount of dollars as it did last year due to this grant increase. However, because the Ashford Loop is no longer in service, this same increase will likely not be realized after this fiscal year.  The city can also use fund balances from the employee benefit levy that can be used to avoid the larger increase.

“It’s a one-time thing again,” Kinser said. “What we saw in fiscal year 12 is despite the fact that we didn’t collect all of it we had set out to collect when we levied taxes, we also made employee reductions that outweighed what we actually didn’t collect in taxes. So we did end up with some surpluses there.”

 Kinser said now would be the time to use some of the fund balances in order to keep the tax levy lower.

The levy called for at last week’s budget workshop was 16.97825 for every $1,000 of assessed value.

With the proposed temporary measures, the levy would be 16.80526, an increase of .54 from the current year levy.  The council unanimously agreed to pursue these options.

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