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City’s 17 percent valuation increase helps drop levy a bit in proposed ‘14-15 budget PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
It’s no longer big news that valuations are up considerably all across the state.
So, it wasn’t too big a surprise to city officials that Imperial’s valuation rose 17 percent this year, from $123,154,109 to $144,423,918. Last year, the city realized an 8 percent growth.
As the city sets it 2014-15 budget hearing for Monday night, proposed figures discussed at the council’s Sept. 2 meeting also show a nearly one-cent drop in the levy, helped by more property valuation to spread the increased tax askings around.
The proposed budget will be before the public next week as Monday’s meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the council chambers.
City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland said of the $21 million valuation increase this year, $3.6 million of it can be attributed to new growth.
The rest, or most of it, is due to revaluation of property in the city limits.
The proposed 2014-15 budget will increase its actual tax dollar spending for the General Fund, from $947,945 to $1,098,199, or 15.8 percent.
Of that $150,000 spending increase, General Fund operations are increasing about $70,000, Leyland said. The rest will cover the city’s bond payments.
Due to the increased valuation which makes for a bigger pool of taxable property, the levy will drop slightly for the General Fund, bonds and airport from 80.5 cents the past year to 78.9  cents for 2014-15.
In the proposed budget, department heads are receiving 3 percent salary increases, Leyland said. Generally, city employees will also see 3 percent pay hikes, but some will receive more, Leyland said, based on statewide wage survey figures they use that compare job descriptions and salaries in other industries in the geographic area.
A separate wage ordinance will also be before the council for approval Monday, setting the 2014-15 annual salaries and per-hour wages.
Nuisance issues on agenda
While the bulk of Monday’s meeting will deal with the 2014-15 budget, action is also expected on nuisance officer recommendations regarding new nuisance properties, as well as rescinding others that have been cleaned up.

Other council business
Updated zoning regulations continue to be discussed by the council, with three more changes made last week regarding livestock within the city’s jurisdiction that add pen requirements, fencing and yard regulations. Council member John Arterburn also suggested adding to the regulations that any livestock be at least 150 feet from any adjacent dwelling. With the suggested changes, adoption of the ordinance was tabled. A possible vote to adopt will be on the Sept. 15 agenda since three full readings have now been held.
Mike Harris started Sept. 3 as interim administrator for the Imperial Manor and Parkview/Heights. In a report from Walt Dye of RHD last week, applications for the administrator job are coming in, including some in-house. Dye said that possibly others applying for positions at RHD facilities in other communities may consider Imperial. However, he said there was “nothing promising yet” to report as of the Sept. 2 meeting. Most recent administrator Peggi Davidson resigned last month after four months on the job.
An abandoned property at 315 East 5th St. has been deeded over to the city of Imperial by its previous owners. As of the Sept. 2 meeting, $5,766 in back taxes were owed on the home, which will by paid with city community development sales tax funds, according to the 3-0 council vote last week. Leyland was to gather demolition cost estimates on the home, which are to be addressed at next week’s meeting.
A new compressor for the walk-in freezer serving the Imperial Manor and Parkview/Heights will be purchased from Troxell’s Heating and Appliance for $4,764.30 with last week’s council approval. Recommended by head of maintenance Billie Hayes, it will replace the 20-year-old compressor unit now in use. While it hasn’t had immediate problems, the average life span is 17 years. During discussion of the compressor’s cost, RHD’s Dye asked that left-over community development sales tax funds earmarked for a new ice cream machine be used to help with the compressor cost, which was approved by the council. The remainder of the cost will be paid with manor budget funds. The $2,000 in excess sales tax funding came about after finding a floor model ice cream machine which cost less than new, but came about after the sales tax funding was approved.
A wage ordinance adding Chayse Mangnetti as a public works department employee was approved. He started Sept. 2 at $13 per hour. Mangnetti replaces Troy Jensen.
A used police car, a 2003 Crown Victoria, was approved as surplus city property and has been put up for sale. Bids must by submitted by Sept. 12 by 3 p.m. to the city office. A minimum $500 bid was set.