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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

A public hearing on a $2.7 million budget for Elkader for the 2017-2018 fiscal year will be held March 13 at 5:30 p.m.  in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. If the budget is approved by City Council the  tax levy will be $19.19 per $1,000 valuation, which is down slightly from the current levy of $19.91.

The budget reflects a $65,000 increase in property tax revenue. According to City Administrator Jennifer Cowsert, the extra dollars are from a re-valuation of properties in the county as well as a decreased need for money from the TIF district.

“The additional revenue will allow us to do some projects we’ve had to put off such as a new heater for the swimming pool,” Cowsert said. “We’ll also be able to evaluate salaries for some positions like police officer with the goal of making wages more competitive.”

In the coming fiscal year, the City will replace a few vehicles, including a police car, public works truck and tractor. Reconstruction of Carter Street is also being discussed. The Council continues to work with an engineer on options.

Cowsert noted that Elkader’s debt service keeps the tax levy higher than other communities. 

“If we continue to see a similar increase in revenue in the future, we will hopefully be able to save for things that we currently issue debt for such as emergency vehicles and street projects,” she added. “We are waiting to see how we will be impacted by the property tax reform bill passed a few year ago by our state legislators. If they do not continue to fund the back-fill then anything we gained with the re-valuation will be moot, and we may even realize a decrease.”

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