Budget: City levy increases 99 cents

A public hearing for the city’s proposed FY2015 budget is slated 6 p.m. Tuesday at the restored Creston Depot

The city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2014-15 was released earlier this month. That budget sets a levy at $13.94 per $1,000 of valuation — up 99 cents from $12.95 this year.

Mike Taylor, Creston city administrator, said several factors led to the increased levy for FY2015, including two major capital projects that will be completed over the next five to six years.

The first is a bridge replacement project on Adams Street near McKinley Park. Bridge inspectors estimate it has only seven more years of useful life.

“The bridge will cost $1 million to replace,” Taylor said. “However, the city has received federal funding at 80 percent for the project, which leaves the city’s cost at roughly $200,000.”

The second capital project involves improving the restored Creston Depot. An architectural firm has already began investigating what structural and cosmetic upgrades are needed at the depot. The estimated cost for that project is $500,000, which will be funded over at least a five-year period.

Wages/insurance increases?

Taylor said fiscal year 2014-15 is the final year in a three-year contract with union employees whereby employees will again receive a 2 percent wage increase. Taylor said almost all non-union employees will receive the same 2 percent increase.

Taylor added insurance costs for the city will not increase for fiscal year 2014-15. However, employee contributions to the insurance plan will increase 1 percent for family plans — from 9 to 10 percent for both union and non-union employees.

Nuisance properties

Taylor said the city also has plans of acquiring and demolishing five nuisance properties in FY2015. They’ve budgeted $60,000 for those five demolitions. The last time the city demolished a nuisance property was at 405 N. Cherry Street in December. That came with a price tag of $15,350.

Other increases

Taylor said general operating costs are up across the board. He mentioned the law enforcement budget went up significantly because of issues with rooftop air conditioning units that need replaced.

Taylor said another costly purchase in the FY2015 budget is a street sweeper. The current sweeper is about 10 years old and needs replaced. Taylor added there is no bonding planned in the proposed FY2015 budget.

A public hearing for the 2014-15 proposed budget is slated 6 p.m. Tuesday at the council chambers inside the restored Creston Depot.