City’s levy to drop 1.46 percent

The city of Princeton will be decreasing its levy by 1.46 percent in 2014.

Helping make that happen is an increase in state aid in 2014 and also new sales tax exemptions to governmental units starting Jan. 1.

Local government aid, which is state assistance, will be increasing almost $300,000 for the city, going from $535,933 this year to $813,075 in 2014. City Treasurer Steve Jackson estimates the city will save about $30,000 with the sales tax exemptions.

Also, the estimated tax capacity rate, a number that is plugged into the formula for figuring taxes, will be dropping 8.88 percent from this year’s rate of 85.99 to next year’s 78.35. The lower that number is, the better it is for the taxpayer. The estimated tax capacity rate had been rising since a low of 62.30 in 2009. The tax capacity hadn’t dropped since 2009.

Jackson says that if a person’s property didn’t have improvements that would raise its value for purposes of taxes payable 2014, then the city portion of their property taxes could drop as much as 8.88 percent next year.

The estimated tax capacity rate is dropping as a factor of the estimated net tax capacity rising. Net tax capacity is the city’s ability to support taxes and the term refers to the amount of valuation of property in the city for taxing. The estimated net tax capacity is going from $2.55 million this year to $2.76 million next year. One of the major contributors was the large expansion at the United States Distilled Products liquor mixing plant.

While the county is holding the levy line with no increase from this year to the next, Princeton is decreasing its levy, and it is the second year in a row that the city is doing that. The city decreased its levy 1.40 percent in 2013.

Next year’s levy of $2.16 million will go for the following:

• General fund expenditures – $1.82 million.

• Levy for tax abatement – $35,000.

• Capital improvements – $175,600.

• Bonded indebtedness – $112,500.

• City’s economic development authority – $17,895.

The bonded indebtedness will include a $90,000 annual payment for extending sewer and water mains to the Rivertown Crossing development area where Walmart sits, a $20,000 annual payment for completing 21st Avenue that runs through that development between First Street and Highway 95, and a $2,500 annual payment on a utility and street improvement at Second Street South and 10th Avenue near the public utilities building and depot museum.

Jackson said that with the improved revenue situation for the city, the finance worker position that is now 3/4 time and occupied by Karen Hodge will be expanded to full time. Also, the 40-hour annual furloughs that employees have had to take for a few years as part of budget restraints will be removed in 2014, Jackson said. He said he expects there will be a cost of living increase given for wages. More money will be allocated for street seal coating to help make up for the cutback during budget struggles in the past few years.


Planned capital expenditures

Planned capital expenditures in 2014 include $10,000 for capital reserve for computer upgrade in administration, $4,000 for capital reserve for computer and software upgrade in finance, and $107,650 for community development.

The community development expenditures are broken down as $23,000 for an industrial park expansion study, $30,000 for hangar purchase and removal, $5,000 for GIS mapping and sewer location, $20,000 for a subdivision ordinance update, $2,000 for locating and installing a Princeton sign, $2,500 for a GIS map update, $150 for a downtown sign, and $25,000 for a lighted community sign.

The library is to get $35,000 for carpet and $6,000 for heating and air conditioning.

The police capital expenditure is to be $188,980, of which the biggest single expense is $44,000 for a new squad vehicle, then $40,000 for a state-required radio system at 800 mhz, $40,000 for portable 800 mhz radios, $15,000 for a copier, $27,500 for squad computer upgrades, $8,300 for office furniture and equipment, $500 for a laminator, $320 for a video duplicator, $360 for window treatments, $1,500 for a K-9 bite suit, $4,500 for a display case, and $7,000 for training room furniture. Some of the expenditures reflect the Police Department moving into a new public safety building soon.

Princeton Fire and Rescue has budgeted $20,000 for GPS mapping, $10,000 for a 800 mhz radio repeater, $5,000 for Class B foam, and $8,000 to update a computer system.

Public Works will receive $50,000 to replace an office area, $20,000 for a used bucket truck, $5,000 to upgrade signage and reflectivity, $14,000 for a paint shop building, $35,500 for a hot patch trailer, and $35,500 for a tractor with blower and motor.

Parks and Recreation budgeted $22,000 for a pickup truck and $2,500 for a boom sprayer.

Planned infrastructure capital expenditures include $96,000 for a sidewalk in the Rivertown Crossing development, $55,000 for water main looping near West Branch Street and $287,470 for improving the intersection at Highway 95 and 21st Avenue.

The cemetery is being budgeted $35,000 for fence replacement.

The capital budget in the sanitary sewer fund includes $6,000 for laptop computer equipment and mapping, and $13,000 for rehabbing the north lift station.

The capital budget at the city’s off-sale liquor store includes $25,000 for an electronic sign, $20,000 for computer hardware and software upgrade, and $3,000 for a wine chiller.

With the planned move of the Police and Fire departments into the new public safety building north of the airport, the City Council plans to, for now, market the current fire station along Fourth Avenue and have Public Works move offices into the police station and use the current police garage for storing some equipment.