Humboldt council approves $9.7M budget

HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt City Council approved the budget for 2018-2019 following a public hearing at Monday’s meeting.

According to City Clerk Gloria Christensen, the property tax levy will be $17.58 per $1,000 valuation. That is down 19 cents from last year.

Total revenues budgeted are $12,076,441 and total expenditures are $9,713,690.

The greatest expenses in terms of their percentage of the budget will be in water at 14 percent; culture and recreation including parks, recreation, library and pool, 14 percent; capital projects, 13 percent; wastewater, 12 percent; and public works, including animal control, 12 percent. Public safety, including police and fire, will take up 9 percent of the budget.

The budget includes a 2.25 percent salary increase for all city employees. The increase is in line with an increase for law enforcement set by contract beginning July 1. Salaries represent only 3 percent of the budget.

Councilman Joel Goodell said the city should begin a set aside program for underground utilities.

“We have invested in growing the community, but all this other stuff we don’t see we haven’t invested anything in and that is where we are going to start having a problem, in my opinion,” he said.

The city sets aside funds for things like a new fire truck.

“I really do believe that this is something important that we need to really adopt,” Goodell said. ”I know it might be a little painful.”

Councilman Jim Vermeer agreed with Goodell. Some of the infrastructure is 100 years old and the city doesn’t have the money to pay for it, he said.

“Rather than bonding out for this whole thing we are actually planning for our future and setting aside at least a little bit. I cannot stress how important I feel this is.” Goodell said. “Things are not going to get any cheaper moving forward.”

“It has to be addressed at some point,” Councilman Kirk Whittlesey said.

Otherwise the funds come out of the streets department, Mayor Dan Scholl said.

“Basically we are losing on surface improvements to make storm water improvements,” City Administrator Travis Goedken said.

• The council also directed Goedken to request a proposal from Mosquito Control of Iowa for mosquito control. Every city he contacted uses that company or does the spraying on its own. The city is not prepared to do its own spraying, Goedken said.

The proposed contract would be for three years at $20,000 a season. Anyone else who might be interested in doing the spraying is welcome to submit a bid, Goedken said.

• April 14 was set for the date of open burning of landscape waste. Junk pickup will be the week of April 30. Brush cleanup will be during the following week.