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City employee benefits budget introduced

Will cost city more than $3 million

Providing employee benefits will cost the city of Fort Dodge more than $3 million in the next fiscal year, according to budget figures presented to the City Council Monday.

The cost of making the employer contributions to Social Security, Medicare, health insurance and the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System is expected to cost the city $3,665,360 in the fiscal year that will begin July 1.

The current budget for those benefits is now $3,354,016.

The separate contributions to the Iowa Municipal Police and Fire Retirement System are budgeted at $1,479,000 for the coming fiscal year.

The current budget for those contributions is $1,372,000.

Jeff Nemmers, the city clerk and finance director, said those figures are based on mathematical formulas which determine how much the city has to pay for those benefits.

A portion of the property tax levy is earmarked specifically to generate revenue to pay for employee benefits.

The property tax levy for the next fiscal year is still being worked out. The initial agenda for Monday night’s meeting indicated that the council would receive that figure.

However, City Manager David Fierke said Monday that he is not ready to present a budget overview that would include the proposed property tax rate. He said he has directed the heads of city departments to cut their proposed budgets, targeting expenses for commodities and contractual services. He said he plans to present the budget overview next Monday.

The council on Monday did review a handful of proposed budgets.

The proposed budget for information technology showed the most change, going from the current $74,000 to $112,000. According to information presented to the council, that increase is due to acquiring new software, installing a new firewall, and allocating costs in a way that city staffers believe will more accurately reflect spending on IT functions.

Other proposed budgets introduced Monday include:

• City clerk’s office — $201,500.

• Human resources department — $105,750.

• Municipal Building — $104,755.

• Mayor and city manager’s office — $101,000.

• Legal services — $50,000.

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