Tax levy, budget set for 2013The Hastings City Council approved the final tax levy and budget for 2013 Monday evening. Both the levy and budget were increased.
By: Katrina Styx, The Hastings Star-Gazette
The Hastings City Council approved the final tax levy and budget for 2013 Monday evening. Both the levy and budget were increased.
The 2013 budget is about $394,000 greater than the 2012 budget, an increase of 1.52 percent. It includes a 2 percent or $234,092 increase to the property tax levy. The total budget will be $26,33,432. The total city levy will be $11,980,920.
Council member Danna Elling Schultz, who is also chair of the council’s finance committee, expressed hope that Hastings is through the worst of the economic struggles of recent years.
“I feel like we may have weathered the storm,” she said.
According to estimates made in August, a home valued at $172,000 in 2012 pays $1,140 to the city under the current tax rate. In 2013, the same home’s value would drop to $165,000. A 2 percent tax increase would put that home’s taxes at $1,173 in 2013.
In the budget
The 2013 budget does not bring any layoffs, furloughs or reduced hours to city employees, as has been the case in the past few years. It does include a new part-time police officer, six paid on-call firefighters, increased seasonal public works staff, a part-time communications position and an EMT duty crew. Also included are wage adjustments, a 10 percent increase in health insurance premiums (split evenly between employer and employee), increased workers compensation insurance and incentive pay for the paid on-call firefighter availability program.
The budget covers a number of city property and improvements, equipment purchases and projects around the city. On the technical side, the budget will fund smart phones for police officers that will allow officers to be more mobile. The phones will be used not only for calls but also for email, audio and video recording devices. A program to equip department heads with iPads will be initiated, with half the program going into effect in 2013.
About $502,000 in equipment certificates is planned to cover election equipment, police squad cars and equipment, a lift truck for the streets department, one ambulance, four 12-lead cardiac monitors, a parks department dump truck and a parks department pick-up truck.