Budget OKd on second reading, tax request up 3%
McCOOK, Neb. — Increased property valuations, no bond indebtedness and an unexpected revenue payment from electric utilities has boosted the City of McCook’s general fund account.
City Manager Nate Schneider reviewed highlights of the 2019-20 budget with the city council Tuesday night, before the council unanimously approved the budget on its second reading. The third and final reading of the budget is Monday, Sept. 16.
The operating budget for city in 2019-20 increased by 8%, from $33.8 million in 2018 to $36.58 million in 2019. Although the city’s tax levy stayed the same at 0.349044 per $100 of valuation, because of increased property valuations, additional funds will be generated for the city from property taxes.
In addition to approving the budget, the council also approved setting the final tax request at a different amount than the prior year. The property tax request this year is $1.46 million, a 3% increase from last year’s property tax request of $1.41 million.
The general fund for the city grew from $9.18 million last year to $10.19 million for the upcoming fiscal year. Schneider said this was attributed to the Red Willow County Treasurer’s office projecting a $43,880 increase in property taxes and a one-time payment of $275,000 from a new agreement with the Nebraska Public Power District.
With the city municipal building paid off, there is also no bond indebtedness for the city. The city municipal building cost the city about $600,000 yearly in payments, derived from city sales revenue.
The city is estimated to receive about $2.42 million in city sales tax for next year, with about half, at $1.10 million, earmarked for the general fund. City voters approved extending the 1.5% city sales tax in 2015, with proceeds to be utilized for property tax relief, capital improvement projects, capital outlay purchases, and debt reduction.
Another $792,325 from city sales tax money has been committed for projects next year, that includes street improvements (B Street concrete repair), $275,000, additional street and drainage improvements, $250,000, and $100,000 for the north Cherokee street improvement project in 2020-21. Other projects in the budget using city sales tax are the city’s 10% match for the airport improvement project ($67,325), the cemetery shop expansion project ($100,000) and reserve for the city pool ($50,000).
City sales tax revenue is disbursed with 5/6th of it going to the city and the other 1/6th to the LB840 Program administered through the McCook Economic Development Corp. Schneider said Tuesday night city sales tax revenue has remained constant, although there was a 6.5% drop seen in July’s receipts.
The goal of the budget was continue to address capital outlay purchases and keep the city’s infrastructure up-to-date, Schneider said, while also meeting the most pressing demands.