FD council OKs budget without raising property tax levy

A roughly $97 million budget for 2018-2019 was unanimously approved by the Fort Dodge City Council Monday.

The budget keeps the same property tax levy of $20.42 per $1,000 of taxable value.

“So that’s good news,” said Councilman Kim Alstott.

But it includes a 2 percent increase in the water and sanitary sewer rates, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

It also includes a $3.50 per month increase in water bills to pay for a reverse osmosis system at the John W. Pray Water Facility.

Preparing the budget was a challenge thanks to requirements imposed by the state government, according to Jeff Nemmers, the city clerk and finance director.

Councilman Jeff Halter said “our friends in Des Moines” have proposed another change that could make city budgeting tougher.

About three years ago, the Legislature and former Gov. Terry Branstad cut commercial property tax rates, but promised to give local communities the money that would have been collected from the commercial property tax rate.

Alstott said Fort Dodge receives $600,000 from the state for that purpose.

But according to Halter, a bill was introduced in the Legislature Monday that would limit and eventually end those payments.

“We may be sitting here next year trying to figure out where we’re going to fill that from,” he said.

The budget approved Monday calls for spending $96,741,097.

It is for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2018.

Here are some of the major expenditure categories in the proposed 2018-2019 Fort Dodge city budget:

• Sanitary sewer system — $5,331,665

• Water system — $5,072,055

• Police Department — $3,807,286

• Fire Department — $2,701,500

• Recreation — $1,225,540

• Road, bridge and sidewalk maintenance — $1,221,470

• Sanitation (garbage and recycling) — $1,191,919

• Fort Dodge Public Library — $821,850

• Fort Dodge Regional Airport — $606,868

• Snow removal — $464,080

• Building inspection — $388,850

• Parks maintenance — $368,942

• Emergency management, including 911 — $374,562

• Traffic control and safety — $291,525

• Planning and zoning — $256,050

• Fire Department ambulance service — $225,430

• Street lighting — $190,000

• City clerk’s office — $177,950

• Street cleaning — $145,530

• Mayor, City Council and city manager — $111,400

• Municipal Building maintenance — $98,000

• Storm sewer system — $67,570

• Legal services — $40,000

• Oakland Cemetery — $33,700

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