The Cherokee City Council last week approved the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year budget totaling $9.55 million and carrying a property tax levy of $17.95 per $1,000 valuation.
The new budget is approximately $2.4 million less than the FY 20011-2012 budget of $11.9 million, but 50-cents per $1000 more in levy rate due to adjusted property valuations. The last FY budget included the West Cherry Street and North 11th Street reconstruction projects that account for most of the differential in the new budget.
The City formulates the budget during a series of budget workshops and reviewing requests from all City Departments for a few months prtior to the budget deadlines. As the workshops play out, the proposed departmental budgets are scrutinized by the Council, Mayor, City Clerk, and City Adminstrator, and pared down if need be, sometimes with many budget requests left on the cutting room floor.
Among the major issues raised this year by the Council and staff during the budget workshops concerning the General Fund were:
*Police - A part-time secretary at the CPD was removed from the budget. Replacement of the furnace and air conditioning units was deferred for consideration again next year.
*Fire - The Fire Chief removed the request for "on-call" weekend drivers. Re-sealing the east half of the parking lot remained in the budget.
*Building Inspection - No funds are included for Masonic Lodge roof. The Historic Preservation Commission will attempt to raise funds to acquire the building. Request for a part-time building inspector was removed from budget. Administrator Don Eikmeier will continue to fulfill these responsibilities.
*Mayor/Administrator - Request to increase Administrator car allowance and request for attendance at ICMA Conference were removed.
*City Hall - Request for replacement chairs in Council room and carpet in hallways was removed.
*Parks - Removed funds for rental of excavator. reduced amount of park road re-sealing and/or tree removal and tree planting. Eliminated skid loader replacement and broom attachment.
*Community Center - Deferred kitchen improvements for reconsideration in FY 2013-14 when the City will not have the major pool repainting expense.
*Swimming Pool - Repainting the floor of the pool remains in budget.
*Library - Office equipment expense was reduced, with funding to be secured from other sources.
Among the major issues raised by the Council and staff during the budget workshops concerning the Street Fund were:
*Local Option Sales Tax Fund - Any and all street improvements have been moved to Local Option Sales Tax Fund (LOST). Also included in LOST are Lake Street traffic light structures, River Road Bridge replacement (first year costs of two-year project), Lake Street replacement and miscellaneous seal coating, crack seasing, and overlays remain in budget.
*Water and Wastewater Funds - No changes to budget. No rate increases are included during the FY 2012-2013 budget year.
*Hotel/Motel Tax Fund - Same contributions to Tourism grant/load program and to Storefront program. Also budgeted for City contribution for installation of electronic message board sign on west side of U.S. Highway 59 southeast of the Fareway Store.
Total property taxes required for the General Fund, Debt Service, Employee Benefits, Emergency, and Aviation Authority totals $2,130,507 for FY 2012-2013, as compared to $2,101,807 last year. The levy rose from $17.45 per $1,000 valuation to $17.95.