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Wells preliminary levy up 17 percent

By Staff | Sep 29, 2014

At their meeting Monday night, the?Wells City Council set their preliminary levy at an increase of just more than 17 percent after working down from an even higher number.

The preliminary levy was first proposed with an increase of 24 percent.

The city is required to certify a preliminary levy and budget prior to Sept. 30 and cannot exceed those numbers as they finalize the budget.

But, when the city administrator presented the preliminary levy to the council they wanted to start working down from the 24 percent proposed increase before it was even approved.

“I cannot certify a 24 percent levy increase,”?council member Anne-Marie Schuster said.

Leslie explained how she came up with the figures to allow the council to discuss the increase.

The original proposed levy had the general revenue at $545,000, the library fund at $70,000, debt service at $230,000 and capital fund at $115,000; with a levy of $960,000 an increase from last year’s actual levy of $187,170.

“The debt service that’s the big one,”?Leslie said. “We had very little assessments in 2014.”

There were many road improvement projects completed which were not assessed and will be factored into the debt service, allowing little room for adjustments in that portion of the budget.

“For the capital budget we would like to pay off a truck that was purchased and there are roofs which need to be replaced,” Leslie added.

Leslie explained there are about five city-owned roofs which need to be replaced and she would like to plan on doing one or two roof repairs each year for the next five years.

“I?also factored in $20,000 for a new siren on the southwest side of town and $30,000 for any additional improvements needed on the liquor store,”?she said.

The council spent quite some time during the meeting crunching numbers in order to bring down the proposed levy increase, before even approving the proposed levy.

“We have to decide which items in the capital fund are must haves this year,”?council member Ashley Seedorf said.

After each council person spent time looking at options for the various funds, a new levy and budget proposal was made.

The general fund was proposed at $530,000, the library at $70,000 the debt service remained at $230,000 and the capital was brought down to $80,000. Those numbers brought the total proposed levy to $910,000, a 17.75 percent increase from last year.

They council passed a resolution to set the new numbers as the proposed budget and levy and Leslie will work to finalize those numbers prior to December when the council will have to adopt the final levy.