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City starting new fiscal year

Happy New Year, or happy new fiscal year that is!

July is always an exciting and busy time at the City of Marshalltown as we end one fiscal year and start another. This translates into a lot of work for the Finance Department, as they can now start to prepare for an audit of the year that just ended. It also is an exciting time as we start a new budget.

The city’s budget might be something most people are not interested in, but it is really a policy document of the city for the coming year.

Here are a few quick notes on the City of Marshalltown budget for the year that begins July 1:

• Consistent tax levy – The city is keeping the same tax rate of $15.38 for every $1,000 of taxable value. The city council prioritized a consistent tax levy in the budget process, and utilized Local Option Sales Tax to make it happen.

• Growth – The tax base is growing. Despite a tornado and a loss of property and valuation, we saw increasing property valuations. This was not expected because it was the value of property as of January 1, 2019. It was a happy surprise for the city.

• Stable operations – The growth in our tax base has helped provide the bump needed to keep our operations in the General Fund the same as the last year. All departments have the same number of staff as the prior year with very similar budgets. The same is true for our other departments funded from other funds, like Wastewater, Stormwater, and Transit.

• Uncertainty – COVID-19 is impacting our revenues, but it is hard to know exactly how. We will have a better idea in August when state payments for April-June arrive and the state estimates the Local Option Sales Tax.

In November, we will begin the budget process again for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2021 – fiscal year 2022. Part of the budgeting process will be revisiting the current budget and making adjustments. This year will require an extra level of scrutiny to make sure that we believe that the revenues we have budgeted, specifically in the General Fund, are likely to hit their target. Please know that the city staff is up for this task and is willing to make recommendations to the city council that are needed to keep our operational budget in balance.

If you would like more information, I highly recommend visiting the Finance Department website at https://www.marshalltown-ia.gov/157/Finance-Department. They have many past documents about budgets, audit, debt issuances and more.

I hope that this has sparked some interest in the finances of the City of Marshalltown; we would not exist without you!

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Jessica Kinser is the Marshalltown City Administrator

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