At the November 25 Chatfield City Council meeting, City Clerk Joel Young reviewed the proposed 2020 budget/levy and financial plans for years into the future. Councilor Paul Novotny was absent.
A reduction of $42,500 has been made since the preliminary budget numbers were approved. Young explained three items are notable for the effect they have on budget increases for 2020.
The 2020 budget includes a transfer of $71,450 to the ambulance fund, which is about $40,000 higher than the 2019 transfer. The swimming pool referendum bond payment in 2019 was $284,000; it will be $319,000 in 2020 (an increase of $35,000). Street light improvements will be paid in 2020 in the amount of $35,801. Together these three items contribute approximately an additional $110,000 to the 2020 budget.
The tax levy for 2020 now shows an increase of $129,652, or 6.38%. Much of that increase can be attributed to the above three items.
The good news is the city’s tax capacity has increased 12.55% over that of 2019. The city tax rate is not going up as fast as the city’s tax capacity. The city council will adopt its final budget/levy at the first meeting in December.
Young reviewed a financial planning report compiled by Mike Bubany, David Drown & Associates, Inc. The report highlights five informal goals: a gradual reduction in the tax rate from 112% to 90% (could be reduced to this point as early as 2027), a reduction in the city’s debt per capita from $4,400 to $3,500 or lower, an effort to keep long term cost increases of city services below 3%, the reimbursement of the General Fund for prior year tax contributions which supported the financing of the wastewater treatment plant (this will be over several years), and the maintenance of positive reserves in the sewer and water funds.
Young suggested they will plan ahead as much as possible to manage any future large projects. There should be a decline in tax rates over time.
Other business in brief
•Fire Chief Ryan Priebe reported there were 52 calls from November 1, 2018, through October 31, 2019. Calls included, but were not limited to, 10 building fires, six medical assists, eight motor vehicle accidents, and one UTV rescue. Officer recommendations for 2020 were approved: Priebe as chief, Luke Thieke as first assistant chief, Peter Erickson as second assistant chief, Chris Musty as training officer, Steve Schmiedeberg as safety officer, Jason Baldner as captain, and Cole Mckean as captain.
The capital goods plan for 2020 includes the replacement of overhead doors and openers, entry doors, and four sets of turnout gear.
A grant has been awarded from the State Fire Marshal’s Office in the amount of $4,275 for a gear washer extractor, which washes carcinogens out of gear. The fire department pays a match in the amount of $475. Priebe noted there is an effort to get a gear washer extractor in every fire hall in the state. The grant was accepted by the city council.
•Kristi Trisko explained that Ms. Swensen requested the parcel she owns at 605 S. Main St. be split into two parcels to provide a separate buildable lot. Both lots will meet the original lot standards of 60-foot by 128-foot. The lot spit was approved.
•The first consideration of Ordinance 446, 2020 Fee Schedule (fees charged by the city), was approved. Most fees will stay the same. There are a few changes including a $20 fee for returned checks and an increase in water rates (the base monthly fee will be raised from $11.39 to $13.10).
•Change order number 2 in the amount of $6,078 from Benike Construction was approved. Payment number 10 in the amount of $120,402.58 to Benike Construction was approved.