BEATRICE – No utility rate increases are being planned in the 2018-2019 Beatrice City Budget. A small increase in the property tax levy is being considered.
Monday night, the Beatrice City Council reviewed financial information of the city, in advance of approval of the budget next month.
City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says the tax levy increase would amount to about $17.70 additional taxes, on $100,000 of property valuation. The reason is loss of about $50,000 in Municipal Equalization funding and the need to finance public safety debt.
City Finance Director Linda Koch says there is a loss of equalization funding under a state formula, because of a rise in personal property valuation last year.
:18 “following year”
Tempelmeyer says the city plans to spend about $250,000 less this coming year than the past year, with fewer capital improvement projects than the past year.
:06 “costs, up”
The city expects an unrestricted general fund cash reserve of nearly $1.8 million, somewhat below a target of $2.4 million, or about three months of operating support.
Tempelmeyer says utility department budgets are in good shape. Councilman Ted Fairbanks wondered if the city could consider refunding part of a $5.1 million cash reserve in the electric department. Tempelmeyer says rate reductions may be a possibility as the city begins ending its wholesale power contract with Nebraska Public Power District, in 2019.
This past year, a $365,000 conversion of a substation was delayed along with a $315,000 industrial Park sewer bypass project. The city is facing a $3 million de-watering project in its wastewater treatment plant operation.
The city made Hannibal Park improvements this past year, and construction of an indoor practice facility has just begun. Pending projects include a splash pad at Astro Park, and construction of a trail connection between Second and Court and Dempster. Projects that were postponed the past year include a $225,000 storage building for street, water and electric departments and a concrete alley project from Court to Market, between 8th and 9th Streets.
As for capital work in the coming year….
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Other planned work includes reconstructing Sargent Street from Ridgeview to Ashland, electric improvements from Sargent Street to the airport and several water main replacement projects.