New FY ‘19 city budget approved
E-911 levy continued
The Marshalltown City Council met in a special noon session Monday and approved by resolution an amendment to the current FY 18 budget which expires June 30 and also approved by resolution FY 2019 budget which begins July 1, and expires June 30, 2019.
After discussion and comments by councilors, both measures carried by votes of 6-0.
Public hearings were required for both resolutions, and several residents used the opportunity to make remarks orally or in writing.
“It appears all of my appeals have gone for naught,” said resident and retired businessman Reed Riskedahl. “I appreciate the opportunity to meet and work with you folks and hopefully we can continue to do so. I sincerely hope you do not reach into my pocket for taxes over time. This particular one is still a reprehensible way for this council to act. I am sorry that this happened. If you have the opportunity to change this (the budget) I would appreciate it if you “back out” the (estimated) $582,000 in E-911 Commission dollars.”
Riskedahl and other residents had asked the council at previous city council and budget meetings this year and last, not to treat the previous E-911 levy of the estimated $582,000 as “found” money for the city’s budget. They were referencing a new E-911 property taxing entity formed recently — the Marshall County Communications Commission, also known informally as the 911 Commission — which will tax Marshall County property and telephone owners to pay for E-911 staff pay, benefits and equipment upgrades.
Before the new E-911 entity had been formed, the city collected those funds for E-911.
“This is not right,” said Riskedahl at one meeting. “The $582,000 in E-911 funds has not been ‘backed out’ of the budget. It is not fair and inappropriate.”
E-911 levy continued
After the meeting, Mayor Joel Greer said he was pleased with work by council and staff.
His comments were echoed by Councilors-At-Large Leon Lamer, Bill Martin and Sue Cahill during the meeting.
“I was pleased with the city council,” said Greer. “After a lot of work, a lot of staff time and open public meetings — nothing under the table — unanimously passed the budget. I am glad we voted to continue the E-911 levy, because we may need it, and it is too early to tell how it could be used, because the legislature is probably not going to give us the backfill they promised they would (estimated at $250,000). Even though we are currently coming in under budget on the joint police-fire building, we could get some surprises that would cause us to go back and tax people again.”
City Clerk Sheri Coughenhour told the council she had received written communication from three residents supporting the resolution regarding the FY 19 budget and nine against.
Residents Dylan Does, Ben Fletcher, and Samantha Vance had written a letter which said: “This letter is to encourage you vote your conscience on the resolution to adopt the City of Marshalltown’s FY 2019 budget. You have received community feedback opposing the budget from various residents. However, keep in mind those voices do not represent all residents. Results of recent elections in November and February suggest those voices are a minority.”
However, residents Jo Ann Butcher, Karen Nablo, Eric Grummert, Leo Lounsberry, David Hesmer, Pam Atcher, Nona Eaton, Mark Eaton and Cindy Eaton all wrote letters to the city in opposition to continuing the E-911 levy, while commenting on city and county salaries among other issues.
“I reside in Marshalltown’s second ward, second precinct and I do not support the FY 2019 budget as it stands,” wrote Nablo. “There is no found money in the amount of approximately $582,000, as the founds were previously collected for 911 wages and benefits. Therefore, the money should not appear as part of this budget and the general fund should be lowered by this amount.”
Resident and former council candidate Leigh Bauder wrote: “It appears the new 911 Commission will also start taxing our citizens for these services. If we keep our tax rate the same as last year, it simply means the city will continue to collect the dollars that were previously allocated for our share of 911 expenses. In essence, we will be double taxed … by the commission and by the city.”
Capital Improvement Plan
Every year the city reviews and updates its five-year program for capital improvements.
The city believes investing in capital improvements is essential for the city to maintain its current infrastructure and provide expanded infrastructure to enhance municipal services.
A public hearing was held on the CIP with no written or oral objections.
The next regular city council meeting is March 12 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers, 10 W. State St.
For more information, contact 641-754-5701, or visit marshalltown-ia.gov. Website viewers may see Monday’s complete agenda packet for the meeting, as well as subscribing to future agenda notices and department news.
Contact MIke Donahey 641-753-6611, or firstname.lastname@example.org