The Fourth City Work Session on the Budget is set for Tuesday. The starting point is now a 43.699 mil levy or a .260 mil increase over last year. That is progress, but assessments have increased. The increase in assessments translates into about a 1 mil savings for the city budget. But what it means for property owners is that even if the mil levy is flat, your taxes will still go up. It is actually possible this year to have a decrease of about .30 in the mil levy. This can be accomplished by adjusting a few accounts, especially the CVB and the Eco Devo infrastructure funds. The Outside Agency fund requests were extremely inflated this year. The Special Alcohol Board did excellent work, staying within budget and only increased allocations by about one-half of a percent. That was not the case with SSAB. They recommended a 7% overall increase, with some agencies like Manhattan Legal Services being given a 26% increase. ATA also requested a 5% increase (the contract is for the on demand service only). Compare those increases to the 1.7% or lower COLA for City Employees, Fire and Police. MAC and Wolfe House requested the same amount as previous years.
We need to find $125,000 in savings to reach a zero growth mil levy for this year. This can easily be accomplished by limiting growth of outside agencies to 1.7% and using CVB and Infrastructure funds to cover some CIP projects. The addition of a Training Officer for the MFD is projected to cost between 60 and 80 K. It is possible to reduce the budget by about 280,000 dollars. This would achieve a negative growth in mil levy of about .3 The assessments will still result in higher taxes for some. The overall City Budget will still increase.