The Colony is headed toward another year of a tax rate reduction.
During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Assistant City Manager Tim Miller updated the council on the proposed tax rate and budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The proposed tax rate is $0.655 per $100 valuation, which is a drop from the current rate of $0.66.
“We’ve reduced it or kept it flat in 18 of the last 19 years,” Miller said. “We’ve kept it flat one year. We’ve reduced it by a quarter cent 17 of those 18 years.”
He said a home of the average home value of $305,000 has had a cumulative reduced tax rate of $2,200 over if that rate was never reduced.
The no new revenue rate, which used to be called the effective tax rate, is 84 cents. That’s the amount the rate could be raised to without a resident vote.
If approved, the reduced rate will equate to $265,000 in reduced revenue for the city.
But Miller said the city’s finances are doing well. Miller said the city’s certified tax roll is $5.3 billion.
He said property tax revenue has increased by $608,584, or 1.8 percent, from $34.1 million to $34.7 million. He said the city is projecting $266.3 million in new construction.
Miller said the valuation of the average home increased by 5 percent to $304,000.
Miller said the general fund sales tax revenue is up by $1.2 million, or 19 percent, from its amended budget ($6 million to $7.2 million)
“A lot of that is the new businesses that have opened up in Grandscape,” Miller said.
He added that the city fared better than expected from the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdowns that followed.
“It hasn’t impacted us nearly as much as we thought,” Miller said. “Grandscape is doing very well. There are a lot of people at home more now, so a lot of the appliances and electronics that people were putting off, they’re going to NFM (Nebraska Furniture Mart) to buy. And more sporting equipment from Scheels that opened up because you have a lot of bored people who want to play catch or something.”
The city is increasing its operations and maintenance costs by $2.4 million, or nearly 4 percent, mostly from personnel.
Miller said there is a blended 1.5 percent increase in payroll, which includes 1 percent for employees making more than $75,000 a year and 2 percent for those making less than that.
There is a proposed increase in personnel in key areas at a total cost of $722,000. That includes six new paramedics for Fire Station 5 that will be located in The Tribute. The plan is for it to open in fiscal year 2023.
City Manager Troy Powell said the budget doesn’t include police staffing but likely will next year.
“We feel good on staffing this year,” Powell said. “We’ll probably add more in the 2022 budget. But with what we added last year we are good to go.”
The city is proposing $9.7 million in capital projects in the coming year. Approximately $1.8 million would go to complete the asphalt streets in the Eastvale neighborhood.
Three streets would be reconstructed – Marsh Drive and Hendrix Drive in their entirety, as well as John Yates Drive from Nash Drive to Strickland Avenue.
Approximately $1 million would go to general street, alleyway and sidewalk maintenance.
Traffic signal projects are set for Memorial Drive at Standridge Drive.
Miller said $200,000 would go toward street and drainage projects in The Tribute.
There are two sidewalk installation projects in the plans, one on the west side of Pecan Crossing and one on the west side of Stewart Boulevard. Plans call for sidewalk replacement between the recreation center and the community center.
Other projects include a refresh at the recreation center.
Other projects include a restroom remodel at the community center and phase two of the animal control building renovation.
The Council is expected to vote on its budget and tax rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year at its Sept. 15 meeting.