At the December 13 meeting of the Chatfield City Council the final 2022 tax levy and budget were approved/certified. Councilor Mike Urban was absent.
The city’s Truth in Taxation Hearing dominated the meeting. The preliminary levy approved in September had an increase of 3.98% for 2022; since then that number has been pared-down to a 2.8% increase, or an increase of $63,088. The Chatfield tax levy for 2022 will be $2,310,877.
Ten new home permits were issued in 2021. There was about $2.5 million in residential construction and $7.4 million of commercial construction in Chatfield during 2021. City Clerk Joel Young in his presentation noted the tax rate has been reduced over the last several years (112 in 2019 reduced to 101 in 2022), measuring the city’s progress. “The tax capacity of the community is growing faster than the budget.”
Young reviewed guiding principles including the intention to “maintain a steady, predictable, local tax rate, with a long term goal of reducing the tax rate over time.” Another principle is to reduce the city’s current debt to a level of $3,500 per capita or lower. This goal is nearly achieved as the debt per capita ratio is expected to be about $3,600 at the end of this year. The city strives to maintain positive reserves in the city’s Enterprise Funds. The city has a strong AA bond rating.
The city works to maintain and fund basic services including public safety and public works programming. The 2022 budget includes funding and services necessary to protect the city’s data and to train city employees in that regard. Capital improvements are planned to the city’s water system throughout the community. Streambank improvements are planned in Mill Creek/Groen Park, to reduce erosion and improve trout habitat. Chatfield Center for the Arts improvements are ongoing.
City utility bills include charges for water, sanitary sewer, and garbage services. There will be no increase in fees for sewer or garbage services. Water fees may increase by 3%, causing the monthly utility bill to increase by less than 1%.
Cost drivers include the escalation of equipment costs, the need for technology/security equipment, insurance, personnel costs, inflation, and marketing.
The General Fund has subsidized the Wastewater Treatment Plant debt service from 2011-2021. The last payment from the Sanitary Sewer Fund to the WWTP Debt Service Fund will be in 2026. Starting in 2027, the Sanitary Sewer Fund could begin to reimburse the General Fund as much as $100,000 per year for 23 years.
There were no comments from the public on the presentation.
Other business in brief
• Approval was given for the trade and replacement of the 2018 front deck mower as recommended by Brian Burkholder. With trade a new 2022 mower purchased from SEMA will cost $16,238.59.
• The payment of fees to Widseth Smith Nolting & Assoc., Inc. were approved in the amounts of $19,557.50 for 2020 and $41,537.25 for 2021.
• Mayor Russ Smith congratulated three city employees for the duration of their service to the city: Officer Scott Keigley for 10 years, Brian Burkholder for 15 years, and Joel Young for 30 years.
• The 2022 contract for preservation planner services with Robert C. Vogel (Pathfinder CRM, LLC) was approved.
• Approval was given for Rick Irish to serve as CCTV Coordinator for 2021-2022 wrestling season. Damon Lueck was approved as CCTV Coordinator for 2021-2022 girls basketball season. Andy O’Connor was approved as CCTV Coordinator for 2021 football and 2021-2022 boys basketball seasons.
• Jeremy Aug was appointed to the City Charter Commission.
• Donations of $1,000 from the Chatfield Firefighters Activities Association to be used for the improvement of the bandshell and a second donation of $1,000 to be used for the improvement of firefighting trucks and equipment were approved.