Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 19, 2017

City budget hearing will be March 4

State backfill will provide an additional $56,000
By David Hotle | Feb 13, 2014

It was after the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year had been made and was being discussed that City Administrator Brent Hinson discovered that over $56,000 in revenue losses from property tax rollbacks would be refunded to the city with the state’s backfill program.
During the final budget work session Tuesday, Hinson told the city council that while creating the proposed budget, he had tried to understand the backfill law, which is new this year. He said that as he continued working, he learned that the city had received an amount larger than he originally thought.
“What I am proposing they do with that and what they have accepted is to only include $6,000 of additional spending,” Hinson said today. “They had really expressed a strong desire to add a second recycling trailer downtown and so with our sanitation fund being as tight as it is, let’s take $6,000 from that and get that funded and the council can feel better about it. We are not drawing down the balance in our sanitation fund and we get that service which has been very popular so far.”
He said the backfill is routed through the county treasurer. He believed that it would be included as part of the taxable valuation numbers the city gets from the county.
During the meeting, Hinson asked that the proposed tax rate be kept $15.82079 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. He said that the state had offered backfill on at least two other occasions and had removed it within a few years.
“I have zero faith in the long-term resolve of the State of Iowa to keep this sort of commitment, and we need to keep in mind that the backfill amount will double next year as commercial and industrial assessments are rolled back further,” he said.
He said in future years the amount could increase up to $112,000. He said if the state reneges on that, the city would have a $112,000 hole in its budget.
The remaining money will be spread to benefit the ending fund balance of the city and several departments.
Hinson said that the state budget is complete and on the state budget forms already. The council agreed to move ahead with the public hearing. He said a notice would soon be published before the March 4 meeting, which will include a public hearing. Hinson said that the council can change anything it wants during the meeting, but it cannot increase the amount of expenditures.
Also during the meeting, the council heard requests from special groups requesting funding and granted funding as requested. The council decided to grant the requested $15,000 to Main Street Washington; grant the requested $21,000 to the Washington Economic Development Group; grant $15,000 to the Washington Tourism Group; grant $12,500 to PAWS and More and an additional $2,500 for a spay and neutering program; and granted $4,000 to the 175th Anniversary Committee for fireworks.

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