Press-Republican

Local News

January 10, 2013

City Council tax rate higher than in mayor's budget

(Continued)

Calnon said he is not blaming the union.

“It’s not anybody’s fault, but it is a fact that more than 90 percent of the tax-levy increase is because of this arbitration award,” he said.

RATE INCREASES

The $53 million budget also includes increases in garbage-collection and water rates, as added by the council.

Garbage pickup would go up about 50 cents per week, Calnon said, and the fee for water infrastructure investment would increase about 70 cents per month.

Some fees in the City Clerk’s Office would also see a small rise, among them $5 more for a taxicab license.

The proposed tax rate would go from $10.41 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $10.76.

With assessments increasing about 2 percent on average this year, the owner of a house whose assessment went from $125,000 to $127,000 would pay about $65 more in taxes for 2013 if the budget is approved.

“Certainly, no one likes tax increases, but I think we have done a pretty good job of managing the things we can control,” Calnon said.

“The arbitration award was a killer, but it is something we have to deal with.”

$60,000 TO LIBRARY

In addition to the arbitration award, the city has been hit with large bills from the state for the Employee Retirement System in recent years, and health-care-premium costs for workers also have been rising.

The retirement obligation for the city in 2013 is about $3.5 million. In 2009, it was $1.2 million.

Health-care premiums are up about $400,000 for 2013.

The council, which has been holding budget sessions since late October, would use about $2.275 million of the city’s fund balance to offset taxes. Kasprzak had recommended using about $2.4 million.

There would still be about $1.7 million left in the fund balance, which is within recommendations of the State Comptroller’s Office.

The council also dropped the contingency fund from $250,000 to $100,000.

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