SL Council Holds Budget Workshop

The Storm Lake city council Monday afternoon reached a consensus on increasing property taxes.

During the council’s budget workshop city manager Jim Patrick said the city was able to reduce property tax for the current fiscal year… but a six-percent increase is needed for next year. He said that would increase the levy rate from $13.02 to $13.60 per thousand dollar valuation. Patrick said the proposed budget includes maintaining existing service levels… but no new services. It also includes a five-percent water rate increase and a nine-percent sewer rate hike.

Patrick says it includes reducing funding the Upper Des Moines Opportunity and the Witter Gallery, while maintaining the same funding for Community Education, Storm Lake United, and Lakes Corridor Development.

The budget includes some reductions in operations… including reducing the summer park ranger program to one ranger… eliminating the community development director position at the end of 2015… and reducing seasonal employees for the parks department and golf course.

Several major capital improvements are planned for next fiscal year… including the North Central Storm Water project, estimated at two-point-six million dollars… the Expansion Boulevard Storm Lake project, at one-point-six million… and the West Milwaukee widening project, at one-point-two million.

Patrick said due to the Hillshire Brand plant being closed for nine months while being rebuild due to the fire, the city’s water and sewer revenue dropped by 780-thousand dollars… which he says they expect to recover.

Public hearings on the city budget and the five-year capital improvement plan will be held during the council meeting on March second.