Charles City proposed budget increases as tax rate remains the same
An expected increase in revenue along with no tax hike highlight the 2017-18 proposed budget for Charles City.
Assistant county administrator and county finance director Michelle Johnson presented a figure of $27,425,116 to county leaders during Tuesday night’s convening of the board of supervisors. That number is an increase of $4,966,803 from the current year’s budget, due mostly in part of the proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
According to Johnson, revenue is expected to increase overall by 3.7 percent. An increase in tonnage from Waste Management also boosted projected revenue for the county.
The county’s real estate tax is expected to remain at the current rate of 76 cents per $100 of assessed value. This marks the first time in three years that no tax increase will be levied on county citizens.
The finance director is proposing a utility rate increase of 25 percent, an equivalent of about a three dollar increase per month for the average user. Johnson also said certain fees will also rise with the new budget proposal.
The general fund is projected at $7,902,516, an increase of $88,871 compared to this year’s figure. Those numbers for next year provide a three-percent salary increase for county employees. Other highlights include the addition of one new courthouse deputy, a new voting machine, increased stipends for county deputies, and additional professional services for efficiency.
Local schools are slated to receive $10,033,196 in funding. Of that amount, $5,234,573 is recommended as part of general fund appropriations, marking an increase of $253,379 in comparison to the current year’s budget. Johnson commented that the increase was to assist the schools with funds lost from state revenues and to provide raises for teachers, cafeteria workers, instructional aides, and other designated employees.
The county’s CIP more than doubled, going from $3.5 million to $7,309,182 for the upcoming cycle. Of that amount, $751,182 will be the responsibility of local funding.
Playing the leading role in the increased CIP is the borrowing of $2.5 million for the construction of the library and renovations of the Historic Courthouse. After a Nov. 2015 referendum passed, Johnson has pegged a total of $2,950,000 towards the library/history center and historic courthouse renovations. The differential amount of $400,000 is expected to be covered through pledges made by the library campaign committee. Other administrative CIP projects include renovations at the neighborhood facility building ($200,000) and renovations at the current courthouse ($34,000).
Utility projects take up another significant portion of the county’s CIP. Top tasks on the agenda revolved around well replacements at Mt. Zion ($1.1 million), the Hideaway Plant ($1.78 million), and Kimages plant ($600,000).
The schools will receive $473,162 to address capital needs for next year. Major projects that funds have been designated for include computers on wheels ($70,864), the “One-to-One” laptop initiative ($69,090), one new bus and transportation van ($128,000), and a new scoreboard and display marquee ($79,439).
Other capital improvement projects include renovations at the old high school ($22,850), renovations at Charles City’s Social Center ($23,500), improvements of parks that include new playground equipment ($25,670), and the addition of one fleet vehicle ($27,000).
Social services ($1,547,360), enterprise fund ($608,862), special welfare ($19,000), and transfer to state funds ($5,000) account for Johnson’s other recommendations for the FY2017-18 budget.
Supervisors minimized comments after the presentation. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Tuesday, Apr. 11, 7:30 p.m. at the Government and School Board Administration Building.