City Hosting Hearings, Finalizing 2024-25 Budget

The City of Glenwood’s proposed budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year calls for a lowering of the total tax levy from FY 2023-24, but that doesn’t mean all property owners will see a decrease in their city tax bill.

An increase or decrease in city taxes will depend on the assessed valuation of each individual property. Valuations on most residential properties within the city limits increased significantly last year, some by over 30 percent.

“If your valuation went up more than 25%, you’ll probably see a slight increase in your (city) taxes, but if it went up less than 25%, you’re probably going to see a decrease in your property taxes,” Glenwood City Administrator and Finance Director Amber Farnan stated in an interview last week. “And that’s just for the city portion of your taxes.”

According to the latest figures from the Mills County Auditor’s Office, homeowners in Glenwood currently pay approximately 38 percent of their property taxes to the city. The Glenwood Community School District receives about 40 percent with just over 16 percent going to Mills County. The remaining funds are designated for other areas and agencies, including Iowa Western Community College, Ag Extension, the Mills County Assessor and debt services.

The existing city tax levy is 15.60195 (per $1,000 taxable valuation). The levy being proposed for FY 2024-25 is 14.58582. The city’s actual property tax dollar asking is $2,973,362, up $984 from the current fiscal year budget.

The city’s proposed FY2024-25 budget is a mixed bag with some areas and departments receiving an increase in funding from the current fiscal year and some experiencing a decrease.

According to numbers Farnan shared with city council members at their regular meeting last Tuesday, the line item for liability, property and self insurance will increase by over 27 percent.

“We use ICAP (Iowa Communities Assurance Pool) and they recommended everybody budget for a 30% increase,” Farnan said.  “We budgeted for a 27.27% because I like round numbers, so last year we asked for $220,000 - this year we’re asking for $280,000.”

Debt Service funding is budgeted to increase 13.64%, from $220,000 to $250,000 due to an increase in principal payments on general obligation bonds and funding for the Glenwood Fire Department is projected to go up over 9%

“The fire department did see an increase of 9.18%,” Farnan said. “But, we added a full-time paramedic and also we’re seeing increases in maintenance and fuel and medical supplies.

“We are now the main responder for PJ (Pacific Junction) calls and so that does increase (costs) a little bit more. But, also the 28E agreements and the other mutual aid agreements we have with other townships and cities, their revenues also went up as well. So it makes less of an impact on our bottom line.”

Glenwood Fire & Rescue has been handling calls to Pacific Junction since last fall when members of the community’s volunteer department submitted a mass resignation and the Pacific Junction First Responders Association was dissolved.

Farnan said the proposed budget includes significant decreases of $50,000 (16.67%) for FICA and IPERs and $100,000 (15.38%) for other employee benefits. The city plans to utilize its Employee Benefit Reserve Fund to offset the reduction of tax dollars being collected in those areas, she said.

Dollars designated for parks is being reduced by 10.57%, from $253,201 to $226,437. Farnan said the reduction is the result of some larger park projects being taken off the table.

The budget for the Glenwood Police Department is also being reduced, by 7.42% from $1,033,658 to $956,968. Farnan attributed the removal of a vehicle purchase and some other cuts in the police department budget for the reduction.

The city is in the process of holding multiple public hearings regarding the budget that will be finalized later this month. Farnan said that city staff and elected officials have met numerous times in recent weeks and months to identify cuts in spending and help adopt the proposed budget.

“The mayor, city council and staff have been and remain dedicated to being responsible with taxpayer money and ensuring it is spent wisely and with purpose,” she said. “We are taxpayers ourselves and understand the importance of keeping tax levies in check, while still maintaining the services the city provides.”

The Opinion-Tribune

116 S Walnut St Glenwood, IA 51534-1665
P.O. Box 377, Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-527-3191
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