Councilmen vote to raise mill levy tax



August 2, 2011 - 12:00 AM

HUMBOLDT — In an unusual twist Humboldt’s city council voted Monday evening to increase property tax support for Humboldt’s 2012 budget by 2 mills, putting the total at 63.618.
That occurred near the conclusion of a two-hour review of the spending document on a motion by Dan Julich, who with Mayor Nobby Davis had argued in favor of increasing the levy to create reserves to buy police cars and other equipment.
A proposal by City Administrator Larry Tucker to enter a five-year lease-purchase agreement to buy a police cruiser prompted discussion of a equipment reserve fund, as did similar lease-purchases that have occurred previously.
Julich also urged that idle funds sequestered in certificates of deposit be used to pay off short-term equipment debts. Action on that may occur later; none could be taken at Monday’s session, called specifically to discuss and act on next year’s budget.
Tucker also mentioned that little money was available to deal with street maintenance and improvements and that the sewer fund barely met obligations. Increases in monthly sewer charges also may be considered later.
“We’re at a crossroads on streets,” Tucker said. “We may have to look at other sources of revenue,” other than fuel tax distributions from the state,  anticipated to be $45,000 next year. He said that would permit little more than potholes repairs.
“These are challenging times,” he said. “If we get through the next couple of years, I think we’ll be able to increase services” when the economy recovers and revenue increases. “At this point we’re just maintaining.”

THE BUDGET proposed was for expenditures, after internal transfers, of a touch more than $2.8 million. Tax support from a tax levy of 61.618 mills, .238 of a mill less than this year and 2.126 mills less than 2010’s, was $417,895. This year’s budget called for expenditures, less transfers, of $2,664,912.
The totals, of expenditures and tax support, changed by $13,654 with the decision to bump the levy up 2 mills, based on the city’s assessed valuation of $6,782,071.
The valuation is $400,000 more than this year, which meant the original levy alone increased tax revenue by more than $24,600.
In his commentary, Tucker said this year’s revenue was about $90,000 behind projections of a year ago because of less collections from Municipal Court fines and lagging property and sales tax collections. That has been offset, he said, by a reduction in Humboldt’s full-time work force from 26 to 23, two in public works and one police officer.
The budget does include, with the blessing of council members, provisions for 2 percent salary increases for all 23 employees.
That’s a continuation of a policy in its fourth year, Tucker noted, and one that will cost about $23,000.
“It’s important to reward employees for a job well done,” he said.

A PUBLIC hearing for the 2012 budget will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 in City Hall. The full document, showing in detail how money will be spent, is available at City Hall.
To give the levy perspective, an assessment of 1 mill is $11.50 for a residential property appraised at $100,000. Consequently, property tax collections from a levy of 63.618 mills in 2012 on a $100,000 home will be $731.60. In addition, property owners will have property tax assessments from the county, school district, Allen County Community College and the state.
The overall total skews the perception of what a mill or 2 increase in the city’s levy means, said both Julich and council member Vada Aikins. They noted that the increase voted for Monday night would mean only a dollar or two a month for the lion’s share of Humboldt residents.
Their assessment was that many people take a tax increase out of context, thinking of what it means to them individually, while the increase will have substantial positive effects on the city’s ability to serve its citizens, the council said.
Two council members, Don Walburn and Sam Murrow, were absent for the meeting. Voting for the tax levy increase were Sunny Shreve, Wayne Smith, Aikins, Julich, Wayne Carson and Otis Crawford. While his vote wasn’t needed with the unanimous decision, Davis applauded the levy increase.

August 11, 2016
November 10, 2015
August 4, 2015
June 29, 2010