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Knabel recommends property tax increase

Published: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 12:08 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 12:10 p.m. CDT

The Newton City Council will hold a special meeting tonight at 6 p.m. to discuss the 2013-2014 annual budget.

One change he is recommending is to take advantage of the “Emergency Levy.” This 27 cents per $1,000 taxable valuation would generate approximately $120,000.

Newton City Administrator Robert Knabel made a statement about the recommended levy increase in a document which states:

“A commitment of $120,000 is not a large commitment considering the scope of the plan – it won’t go far.” Knabel said. “However, over five or 10 years, these resources will add up and allow the city to make major strides in accomplishing the Comprehensive Plan.”

Knabel is also recommending a 1 percent tax levy increase. It would raise the tax levy by 15 cents. The increase would cost a home owner with an average house worth $90,100 a total of $35.01 a year or $2.92 per month.

TIF and franchise fees would have a minimal impact on the 2013-14 budget.

The MFPRSI pension covers police and fire personnel and increased to 26 percent this year. It increased 15 percent in the city’s contribution rate over the last fiscal year.

The Operating Surplus/Deficit of the General Fund and is projected to be at a loss of $70,741. That is an improvement from last year, which was at a loss of $274,436.

In September, city staff developed goals, which Knabel intends to follow. They are:

1. Develop an effective, innovative and professional staff.

2. Be a growing center for business and commerce in Central Iowa.

3. Develop and take full advantage of advancing technology.

4. Be the safest city in Central Iowa.

5. Be the preferred community to live in Central Iowa.

Once the goals have been completed they will be recommended to the council in an upcoming meeting.

Knabel said the changes he is recommending follows the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Mission Statement.

Staff writer Matthew Shepard may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at mshepard@newtondailynews.com.