The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.
7 p.m. August 13, 2013, Newton City Commission meeting
At Tuesday’s meeting, the City Commission adopted the 2014 budget after conducting a public hearing at the Meridian Center. The budget includes:
A 5-mill increase in the property tax rate, which equates to $57.50 a year for a $100,000 house.
A transfer of $300,000 from utility funds to the General Fund.
A $250,000 transfer of sales tax funds previously designated for economic development and infrastructure improvements.
In five work sessions during the past two months, Commissioners deliberated on the budget, facing difficult decisions about the City’s values and priorities. They considered various options to balance the budget, including an across-the-board service cut of 5 to 10 percent, a mill levy increase of 3 to 7 mills, and transfers of up to $450,000 from sales tax funds. The final budget represents a compromise that the majority of commissioners would support.
Since 2008, the City has been struggling to make up for a loss in revenues of more than $600,000 per year from interest earnings and transfers from the State. The cost of doing business has also continued to increase.
To avoid tax increases, the City reduced spending four years in a row, with 2011 expenditures about $1.4 million less than in 2007. Some community projects, equipment purchases and hiring of major positions were delayed. In the 2013 budget, the City held the mill levy flat and relied on reserve funds to balance the budget. Reserves could not be tapped again this year, however, and the Commission decided to explore options to raise revenue rather than face layoffs and major service cuts.
For more information, please contact Public Information Officer Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.