City of Carroll eyes lower property-tax rate
Carroll City Council members Monday night started deliberations on a $16 million budget for next fiscal year that includes $1.5 million in funding for a new water well, $152,000 for a new Rec Center gymnasium floor and ceiling and $240,000 for a tanker fire truck.
City officials are also expecting to spend $300,000 on improvements to the Grant Road and U.S. Highway 30 intersection in the wake of the relocation of the Casey's General Store in eastern Carroll.
The city portion of the tax bill would be set at $12.90 per $1,000 valuation - about 2 cents less per $1,000 than the current fiscal year, according to the draft plan developed by city staff in consultation with elected officials.
The median value of a home in Carroll is roughly $120,000 in assessed valuation. Under the city budget plan, homeowners of such a property would see their city property-tax bills rise $30.79, or 4.17 percent, from $738.28 this fiscal year to $769.07 in the next. The reason for the hike stems from an increase to the state-mandated rollback as residential property is taxed at 53 percent of its value, as opposed to 51 percent this fiscal year.
But because commercial property is taxed at 100 percent of its assessed value, owners would see slight decreases in their actual city-tax bill under the plan. A $1 million building would be taxed at $21.90 less - $13,678.83, down from $13,700.73.
Total assessed valuation of property in the city - a major indicator of economic vitality - increased 1 percent from $647 million to $653 million over the past year, city officials report.
Financing for the new well would come from the city water fund. The well is expected to be located on the west side of Carroll, possibly on the south side of the Middle Raccoon River on Third Street or south of Pleasant Ridge Road, west of U.S. Highway 71.
In its public-works deliberations, city officials are preparing for a potential expenditure of $6 million to $6.5 million for possible Iowa Department of Natural Resources-mandated upgrades to the facilities involving ultraviolet treatment of waste, improvement of sludge handling and removal of nitrogen and phosphorous.
City Public Works director Randy Krauel provided an initial estimate of a two-year increase of 6.5 percent to sewer rates to pay for such improvements.
The city is also developing a Medical Insurance Internal Service Fund with $290,000 planned in investment for next fiscal year to manage health-insurance costs associated with the 62 full-time employees eligible for insurance through the city.
"It will allow us to track medical insurance costs while taking advantage of 'buying down' the premium cost with higher deductibles," said City Manager Gerald Clausen.
City Finance director Laura Schaefer reports that the city is at 14 percent of its general-obligation debt limit with $4.535 million in such debt, well over $2 million connected to the fire department and Corridor of Commerce.
For a home assessed at $150,000 the city portion of the property-tax bill is 44 percent; the county, 17 percent; and the Carroll Community School District, 37 percent. Des Moines Area Community College factors in with 2 percent, and the state takes a small slice, 24 cents per $1,000 taxable valuation.
Carroll City Council members must send an approved budget to the state by March 15. The council will review the budget at 5:15 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6, and 5:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11.
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