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Council sets public hearing to approve city budget without Emergency Levy

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 12:16 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 12:17 p.m. CDT

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he Newton City Council set a public hearing date of March 4 for approval of the city budget that will not include the Emergency Levy.

The council met Jan. 28 to discuss the city’s budget. They decided to reject the introduction of the Emergency Levy at its suggested rate. It would have introduced approximately $120,000 to the budget, but the council voted to investigate the possibility of introducing it at a lower rate. The lower rate would have produced $90,000, but staff did not recommend it, as it was not needed. One of the only proposed changes was to increase the ending tax levy by 15 cents.

The reduction of the initial budget allowed the city to save more than $60,000. One of biggest projects effected by the reduction is the audio/video equipment in Newton City Hall. The initial budget was $80,000, and the council decided to reduce it to $25,000.

Even with the council’s decision not to use the levy, the ending fund balance was projected to be 1.3 percent above their threshold.

The council had a total of $162,000 available to use for the Comprehensive Plan, which staff recommended be designated to the following:

• A second police car be purchased instead of the unmarked car.

• $8,000 to be spent for an irrigation system at local soccer fields in conjunction with Newton Area Soccer Association. NASA will provide $4,500 to help the city pay for the potential water reel.

• $83,000 to be transferred to the Community Betterment Fund increasingthat total to $250,000 to possibly be used for future Comprehensive Plan projects.

• $57,500 to remain in the ending fund balance and used for city hallimprovements or city council chambers audio/video system if needed.

• Of the $250,000 in the Community Betterment Fund, $30,000 to be used for the entry signs and the balance used for future Comprehensive Plan projects.

The council also adopted:

• A resolution to accept the purchase bids and authorize the purchase of a 2013 type III module ambulance. The lowest bid was by Klocke’s Emergency Vehicle for $149,026, which included the trade of the 2003 unit. It will take 150 to 180 days to build the new ambulance.

• A resolution to authorize the purchase of a new power lift ambulance cot. This is the third time that a power lift cot has been purchased and Newton Fire Chief Jarrod Wellik said that the power lifts have been a success. The power lift will cost $12,464.76 from Stryker Medical.

• A resolution authorizing financial assistance payment of $2,640 to Harry and Judith Dearinger for their property located at 718 E. 18th St. N. for prohibited sanitary sewer discharge removal work.

• A resolution approving quotes for the following properties for sanitary sewer discharge removal work.

• $2,030 to David R. and Joan K. Gooch for their property located at 1109 S. Fifth Ave. W.

• $2,408 to Steve and Laura Jochems for their property located at 330 W. Ninth St. S.

• $2,500 to William Ledvina and Jennifer Ceasar for their property located at 316 W. Ninth St. S.

• $2,302 to John and Janet Jackson for their property located at 619 S. Fourth Ave. W.

• $2,035 to Landon and Shelby Elscott for their property located at 717 W. Seventh St. S.

The council also passed a resolution to accept completion upgrades for the 2012 lift station ventilation project. The final payment was $5,006.65. The project was estimated to cost $163,620, but with electrical additions and revisions the amount totaled $166,620. Public Works Director Keith Laube informed the board that the system helps prevent rust and the possibility of a dangerous gas build-up.

The council also approved a resolution appointing Bonnie Terpstra from Farmer’s Wife, Dianna Ambroson from the Medicine Shop, Robert O’Brien of Dairy Queen, Jeff Maki of Clemon-Maki Insurance and Robert Claypool of First Newton National Bank to the Newton Downtown Self Supported Municipal Improvement District Board. Downtown businesses pay a small tax that generates approximately $14,000. The money is to be used for improvements downtown. SSMID was dissolved in years past, but was reformed after a number of business owners approved of the reformation. Newton Mayor Michael Hansen informed the council that approximately nine people expressed interest to serve on SSMID.

Lisa Gibbons addressed the council about the vicious dog ordinance adopted in a previous meeting. She informed them that she hopes to find a better solution to the growing problem.

“I am trying to find a proactive solution,” Gibbons said.

She will continue to inform the board on her findings, based on what other cities have done.

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

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