March 12, 2013

Carroll City Council members Monday night approved a $16 million budget for next fiscal year that includes a reduction in the residential tax rate.

The city portion of the tax bill is $12.90 per $1,000 valuation - about 2 cents less per $1,000 than the current fiscal year.

The median value of a home in Carroll is roughly $120,000 in assessed valuation. Owners of such a property will 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, which begins July 1. The reason for the hike in actual dollar cost even with a lower rate stems from an increase to the state-mandated rollback as residential property is taxed 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 will 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.

The budget 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.

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 just takes one piece of the property-tax pie. 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.