Fort Dodge council sets partial property tax levy

Valuation rises in city

A partial property tax levy for 2020-2021 was approved by the Fort Dodge City Council Monday evening as officials strive to keep the rate the same as it has been for the past four fiscal years.

But despite those efforts by the council and city staff, homeowners could see the amount of tax they pay increase because the value of their property has gone up.

The council unanimously approved a partial property tax rate of $16.10 per $1,000 of taxable value.

It includes:

• $8.10 for the general fund, which pays for police and fire protection, parks and recreation, the library, the Blanden Memorial Art Museum and many other government functions

• $6.16 for employee benefits

• 62 cents to support the Webster County Emergency Management Agency

• 47 cents for property and liability insurance

• 35 cents to support Dodger Area Rapid Transit

• 27 cents to help balance the general fund

• 12 cents for Citizens Central

That total does not include the levies for debt service and the Karl King Band.

The figure for the debt service levy has not been discussed by the council yet. Currently, it is $4.59 per $1,000 of taxable value.

The levy for the band is now 6 cents per $1,000 of taxable value.

The current total property tax rate for the city is $20.42 cents per $1,000 of taxable value. City officials want to keep it at that level.

”The tax rate won’t be any different than it’s been in prior years,” City Manager David Fierke told the council.

The $20.42 per $1,000 of taxable value is just the city’s property tax rate. The Fort Dodge Community School District, Webster County and Iowa Central Community College also levy property taxes.

Even if all of the taxing entities keep their rates the same, residents could still end up paying more in taxes due to increasing property values.

The total combined value of property in Fort Dodge has risen about $34 million, according to Jeff Nemmers, the city clerk and finance director.

He said it went from about $707 million to about $741 million.

In a related budgetary matter, Fierke and Nemmers updated the council on work to balance the proposed general fund for 2020-2021.

They presented a balanced general fund that calls for spending $14,183,410.

General fund revenues are projected at $14,189,494.

A few changes were made to get to a balanced budget. For example, plans to buy a specially marked vehicle for the Fort Dodge Convention & Visitors Bureau at a cost of $33,000 were scrapped. Fierke said the bureau can borrow a Chrysler minivan owned by the Blanden Memorial Art Museum.

Also, the Fire Department payroll was revised downward due to a pending retirement.