Rush City approves 3.5 percent tax levy increase

While Rush City’s property tax levy for 2014 is $15,000 more than this year’s levy, city budget planners were able to trim $5,000 from what was proposed in the fall.

The impact on many homeowners will be less than $1.75 per month and a lower tax amount paid to the city than what has been shown on tax statements. If the taxable value on a home has decreased, the impact should be less; if a home’s value has increased, one’s city taxes could be slightly higher.

Financial consultant Kay Mattson presented this information during the truth-in-taxation portion of the City Council’s Dec. 9 meeting. Afterward, council members approved the final 2014 budget and levy. The tax levy was certified at $453,343, a 3.5 percent increase over 2013.

Illustrating the tax impact on various residential properties, Mattson noted a home valued at $76,000 will owe $336 in taxes, a difference of $8, or 66 cents a month, compared to 2013. Meanwhile, a home valued at $200,000 will pay $885 in taxes, a difference of $21, or $1.75 a month.

“The change in value on your property and the change in value on other properties in your community will affect your property taxes,” she said.

Breaking down the property tax levy, the general government levy totals $265,843; Economic Development Authority levy, $17,000; and the following special levies: 2009 Fire Department equipment certificate, $25,000; 2002 general obligation bond issue, $22,500; PFA loan, $100,000; and 2007 general obligation improvement bonds, $23,000.

The general fund budget, in factoring in revenues and expenditures, is $1.39 million, which is $207,261 more than last year.

Additional dollars were added to the budget for improvements to the fire hall. A concrete pad in front of the fire department building needs to be replaced, and so does the block around the fire hall’s big garage door, City Administrator Amy Mell explained after the meeting.

Dollars also were added for city aesthetics and beautification expenses, for such items as banners, flags and hanging baskets.

On local government aid, Mell noted the city is anticipating $160,000 more in state aid than last year. The money comes in two installments throughout the year.

Due to the fact that local government aid has been unstable over last number of years, however, the city is budgeting it in its street and project funds rather than in the city’s general fund. Though the money is not necessarily counted on for day-to-day expenses, Mell noted, it’s mainly used to fund those areas that have been put off for lack of state aid in the past.

Local government aid from the state is allocated for the following capital equipment and projects: future computer equipment at City Hall; future vehicles and safety equipment for the Fire Department; future vehicles and streets projects for the Street Department; and future seal coating of runways and clearing of brush and trees for visibility at the airport.

— Note: City Hall will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. City Hall will be open until noon on New Year’s Eve and closed on New Year’s Day.

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