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CITY GOVERNMENT

City proposes 3% property tax increase

Major discussion emerging on streets work, potential Rec Center modernization

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Carroll City officials have proposed an $18.9 million city budget for next fiscal year that includes a 3 percent increase in property taxes.

The result, if the budget is approved as proposed, is the city tax bill for a $150,000 home would go from $935.41 to $963.76 — a $28.35 hike on what is considered a median-valued home in the city.

The proposed budget includes an increase in the city’s property tax rate from $11.60 to $11.65 per $1,000 assessed valuation on residential and commercial property. This does not include the Carroll Community School District, Carroll County and Des Moines Area Community College tax askings.

“The city is in a very strong financial position even in light of COVID-19 and some of the other financial challenges,” City Manager Mike Pogge-Weaver said.

The city expects to be more aggressive in streets work in coming years, and discussions will start in earnest in coming weeks about how to do that within the confines of the budget.

Some major engineering work likely will be done in the coming fiscal year associated with an expected $3 million street-improvement project slated for calendar year 2022 on Adams Street from Sixth Street to 13th Street.

Another big topic as budget talks begin: how to use debt financing over the next two decades to fund accelerated streets work and potential improvements at the Carroll Rec Center, ranging from an ambitious plan to modernize the pool and add a second gym to more modest, staged improvements. Costs associated with the streets and Rec Center work could range from $9.4 million to $26.7 million over 20 years.

Any debt financing associated with the projects could start in the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1 and runs through the end of June 2022.

The city, thanks to increases caused by damages across Iowa in the derecho, is facing a 12.25 percent increase in its property casualty insurance, with that expense expected to jump from $258,258 to $292,192.

A series of up to four work sessions on the budget follows its release Monday, with all of them set for 5:15 p.m. on Jan. 18, 20 and 27, and Feb. 3.

All meetings are open to the public, but it is not certain as of now, given coronavirus-related restrictions, if attendance will be virtual or in person. Elected officials and city staff will meet in the council chambers at City Hall for the budget work sessions.

The City Council will hold a series of budget-related regular meetings in February.

The budget must be sent to the county auditor for certification by March 31.

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