Public hearing on FY 19 budget to resolve issues?

Includes certification of taxes

A busy agenda awaits the Marshalltown City Council at a special noon meeting Monday in council chambers.

Included is a public hearing and resolution to amend the current FY 18 budget, which began July 1, 2017, and expires June 30.

Also on the agenda is a public hearing and council approval via resolution of a Five Year Capital Improvement Program, 2018-22.

Certain to generate public interest and commentary, pro and con, will be a staff recommendation to council they pass the FY 19 budget, beginning July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2019. A public hearing on that matter is on the agenda too.

Mayor Joel Greer will preside at the meeting.

In recent years, public hearings on city budgets have drawn a few residents who have taken the opportunity to speak in favor, or against the budget.

Also included in remarks have been suggestions.

Monday’s public hearing may reverse the relatively low turnout.

City taxes in general, specific items proposed in the FY 19 budget, and alleged lack of transparency have motivated a number of residents and business people to speak against them at two special noon city council meetings designed as budget work sessions. Other comments against certain proposals have been made at city council meetings this year and last. City taxes and the FY 19 budget have induced other residents to many letters to the editor, pro and con, regarding staff and council proposals.

Regardless, decision-day awaits for the six-member council Monday.

Typically at seven members, It has been absent the second ward representative since Jan. 2, when then-second ward councilor Greer was sworn-in as mayor.

As of press time, it is unclear when a second ward councilor-elect will be sworn in.

That is because candidate Bob Untiedt filed with the Marshall County Auditor/Recorder/Commissioner of Elections late Friday afternoon for a recount from the Feb. 27 special election.

Untiedt unofficially lost to unofficial winner Gabe Isom by two votes, 94-96, while third-place finisher Jay Carollo lost 96-90.

E-911 levy use

Central to several residents’ objections has been proposed use of an estimated $582,000 in Emergency 911 funds previously levied against all property owners as part of the city’s overall taxing format. Resident Reed Riskedahl has 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 FY 2019 budget. The long-time resident and retired businessman was 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 (FY 19) budget. It is not fair and inappropriate.” Jim Palmer, o-owner of American Aluminum Seating, said: “What you are doing (with E-911 budget) is not right. I am frustrated, I feel like I am being taxed twice, once by the city and also by the E-911 Commission.”

Riskedahl claimed he has communicated his concern on the matter beginning June of last year, and throughout 2017. In a recent letter to the editor, Riskedahl wrote: “So, the way this stands now, both the city and the new E911 commission will be levying property taxes that will result in increased costs to residents.”

Resident Mark Eaton has joined Riskedahl and Palmer speaking at city council meetings critical of the E-911 issue, as well as city taxes and special levies recently imposed, such as the special storm water run-off levy imposed by the council last year.

Eaton wrote several letters to the editor last month and one this month on the issues.

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.

For more information, contact 641-754-5701, or visit Website viewers may see Monday’s complete agenda packet for the meeting, as well as subscribing to future agenda notices and department news.