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City sets public hearing on budget for March 1

By James Grob,

The Charles City Council set Monday, March 1, as the date for the public hearing on the city budget for fiscal year 2022.

City administrator Steve Diers told the council at its regular meet Tuesday that the budget process was generally complete. Although he is still working on some revenues in proprietary funds, expenses were set and the budget would be ready for the hearing.

“We did see some valuation increase this year, which was very timely and very helpful,” Diers said. “The new budget sees an overall increase in spending of $161,179 in our non-proprietary accounts.”

Diers said that there is a decrease in overall tax rate of about 3.8 cents, as the proposed levy rate will go from $16.02 to $15.98, per $1,000 of taxable valuation.

Costs in the budget are mainly being driven by the start of Charley Western Bridge replacement payments, added capital costs to the Police Department from dispatch leaving, setting funds aside for future fire station roof replacement, an increase in ambulance shared operational expenses and remodeling the fire station to accommodate ambulance staff, according to Diers.

He said other cost drivers include funding directed toward outside agencies, including Community Revitalization office upgrades, the Train Depot moving and the relocation of The Learning Center.

He told the council the city saw decreases in levy needs for liability insurance and transit operation.

Diers said new “Max Levy” procedures mandated by the state have been implemented and the city is well below the 2% extra hearing and supermajority vote requirements, as the levies subject to the Max Levy are seeing an overall 1.25% increase from the previous year.

“All in all, I am happy with what we’ve been able to budget, given the constraints on funding that we have and the demand for services,” Diers reported. “There are, of course, a number of projects and needs that we were not able to get into the budget, but there are a good number of them that did.”