Council approves budget with 37¢ property tax decrease
By Kim Edward Adams

Jesup Mayor Larry Thompson was enthusiastic about passing the city’s 2018-19 budget at the council March 6 regular meeting. The council passed the budget resolution after an uneventful public hearing where no one spoke in favor of, or against the budget proposal.

The excitement was because the city was able to tighten up the budget this year to the point of lowering the property tax rate by just over 37¢ per thousand dollars of taxable valuation. “That’s huge!” Thompson said. The new tax rate will be $14.45644 for regular property. The ag land tax rate will be $3.00375. The current fiscal year’s regular tax rate was set at $14.82969. The ag land tax rate was $3.00375.

The 2018-19 budget, which starts July 1, 2018 and ends June 30, 2019, show anticipated revenue of $3.291 million and expenditures of $3.151 million. If no budget amendments are passed, this will result in about $140,000 being added to the city’s fund balance at the end of the fiscal year. The expected fund balance for the city on July 1 of this year is $3.064 million.

Benson Ridge Urban Renewal

The council also unanimously passed a resolution designating the Benson Ridge development as an urban development area. This housing development, which will consist of about 7 residential lots, is located off Benson-Shady Grove Road just south of South Street/220th Street, and east of Benson-Shady Grove Road/V-65.

Habitat for Humanity

Paul Gaumer of Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity presented information to the council about the presence of Habitat for Humanity in Buchanan County. He explained how the program builds and rehabilitates homes. The group is soliciting prospective donors, families that need help and potential committee members.

Emergency Services Facility

The tower needs to be transferred from the old building to the new building. A stove, microwave, freezer and refrigerator still need to be purchased and installed in the new building. The punch list of last minute items are also still being worked on, as well as cleaning before the building is moved into.

Library Assistant Director

Library Assistant Director Kari Johnson was given a salary increase to $12.60 per hour following the completion of her six month probationary period.

Annexation Request

Kurtis Marks has requested annexation of his property at 2231 Benson Shady Grove into the city. Initial estimates of the potential cost of providing water and sewer service across Benson Shady Grove were $4,000 for water and $45,000 for sewer. The council questioned how this could be funded. Public Works Director Mike Fettkether will report back to the council.

Water Tower Servicing

The Water Tower needs servicing and painting. Fettkether will be working with Fehr Graham on specifications after the council approved an engineering agreement for the project.

2017 Smoke Testing

Alex Potter and Derick Anderson of McClure Engineering, reported to the council on the 2017 Smoke Testing project and flow monitoring study in the Northeast quadrant of the city. They recommended rehabilitating the public inflow/infiltration with cured-in-place pipe lining in that area of the city. Mayor Thompson suggested setting a council work session to study this further.

City Insurance Approved

The council approved the city insurance for property, casualty and workman’s compensation insurance through Vogel Insurance Agency. Rusty Donnelly and Jill Johnson presented the information to the council.

The next regular council meeting will be Tuesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of city hall.
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