Archive for Thursday, August 5, 2010

Baldwin City mill levy to rise 1.895 mills

August 5, 2010

It came as no surprise that the mill levy for Baldwin City took a jump this year by 1.895 mills.

Last year, the mill levy used to raise taxes went down slightly to 30.538 mills. This year it went up to 32.433. One mill is equal to $1 in tax for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed valuation. The increase will cost taxpayers who own a $150,000 home an additional $32.69 next year to fund the city’s $13.937 million budget.

“We are proposing a slight increase of 1.895 mills,” said City Administrator Jeff Dingman. “The increase is largely due to debt service increase. Our operating budgets went down.”

The city staff and budget committee took a “strategic” approach to budget items this year, identifying areas that needed to be raised and most that needed to be lowered. For example, the city plans to move to online bill paying and other online items, so the budget for IT went up.

On the other side, most department budgets were cut. And, there will be no pay raises for employees this year.

“The process was very different this year,” Mayor Ken Wagner said of the crafting the budget. “It was beneficial. If we’re going to stay in the strategic process, a lot of that needs to come out of the committees.

“I thought the staff did a great job with the budget,” said Wagner, noting his pledge to make the city more affordable. “It’s important to note that we brought our operational budgets down.”

The Baldwin City Council conducted a public hearing on the budget at its meeting Monday, but no one from the audience spoke about it. The budget was passed unanimously.

The council also conducted public hearings for the next step in getting four unsafe structures in the city either refurbished or torn down. Only one of the property owners was on hand for the hearings and promised the structures there would be addressed.

All four property owners were given until Sept. 3 to show significant improvements. The structures are located at 1004 Sixth Street, 910 Dearborn, 304 High and 600 High.

The council also authorized Dingman to enter into an agreement with Douglas County for the north Sixth Street project. It will replace the street, improve infrastructure and add sidewalks starting north of U.S. Highway 52. The city will pay 54 percent of the estimated $3.2 million project, which is scheduled to start in 2012.

Wagner noted that the project would partially be paid for with the half-cent sales tax voters approved to continue last year for infrastructure.

“This is another project the sales tax will be used for,” he said.

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