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Newton City Council to set public hearing on budget

The Newton City Council will vote on a set date for a public hearing to approve the 2013-2014 annual budget at 6 p.m. Monday.

The council reviewed the proposed budget and recommended changes to the original budget on Jan. 28. During the meeting, Knabel informed the council that they could introduce an emergency levy. Many other cities in Jasper County use the levy, but ultimately the council decided against it.

Because the council did not approve of the emergency levy, Newton City Administrator Robert Knabel and staff made changes to the proposed budget.

The council’s decision to reduce spending to the proposed budget saved more money than introducing the levy. If the emergency levy passed, it would have introduced $120,000 to Newton’s budget.

In an earlier meeting. Knabel informed the council about the ending fund balance, which was projected to be above their goal by 25 percent by 1.3 percent.

Although the council rejected the introduction of the emergency levy it does not mean that they cannot introduce it at a different time. There is no set timetable on when cities can implement it into effect.

Project funding changes proposed are:

• City newsletter: Initial budget was $35,000, but the council agreed to reduce the budget by $20,000.

• City Hall: Initial budget $70,000; it was voted to be reduced by $35,000.

• Entry Signs: Initial budget was $30,000, and the council voted to reduce it by $30,000. the money used for the signs will be Transferred from the General Fund to the Community Betterment Fund formerly known as the Whirlpool Fund.

• Audio/video: Initial budget was $80,000, and the council voted to reduce it to $25,000. The changes to the audio/video will be taken out from the Community Betterment Fund, placing it in the General Fund.

According to the council packet, because the city has an extra $162,000, staff recommended the following:

• $13,500 be used to purchase a unmarked car for the police department. Originally, the council considered not purchasing the car.

• $8,000 be used on an irrigation system for the soccer field. The irrigation system was originally going to be paid by a future bond, however, staff recommended $8,000 to be taken from the budget because it is available and it follows the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

• $83,000 is recommended to be transferred to the Community Betterment Fund, thus allowing $57,500 remaining in the fund to be used on an audio/video, if needed.

• $30,000 be used from the Community Betterment Fund for future entry sign projects.

The board also will vote on a resolution to appoint five new members to the Newton Downtown Self Supported Municipal Improvement District. The SSMID existed in the past but was disbanded. SSMID board is being reintroduced to allow downtown businesses to provide input on how money be spent improving downtown. The five members proposed are: Bonnie Terpstra, Farmer’s Wife; Dianna Ambroson, Medicine Shop; Robert O’Brien, Dairy Queen; Jeff Maki, Clemon-Insurance; and Robert Claypool, First Newton National Bank.

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

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