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Rugby city council adopts 2021 budget

By Sue Sitter - | Sep 19, 2020

Rugby taxpayers have a mill levy decrease in store for them, according to budget projections presented before the Rugby City Council September 8.

Rugby City Auditor Jennifer Stewart presented the 2021 budget at the public meeting.

“Right now, with the general fund for 2021, we are looking to levy 88.94 mills. This is based on the mill value estimate as of July 21 of $8,004. For public recreation, we’re looking to levy six mills; the Heart of America Library is looking to levy 6.5 mills and the JDA is looking to levy four mills. That gives us a total of 105.44 mills,” Stewart said.

“In comparison to last year, that’s a decrease in mills across all levels. We are not levying for snow removal this year,” Stewart noted.

“Last year we levied 2.47 mills. This year, we need to spend down that based on what we didn’t spend for snow removal costs last year,” she added.

“We’re also looking at a reduction in state aid and a reduction in tax distribution,” she added. “Our sales tax, we’re looking for (revenues) to be possibly higher,” Stewart indicated. There’s a reduction in the city cigarette tax (revenues). That’s been going down a little each year,” she added.

Stewart said the budget would include two voter-approved levies, Measure 2, which supports the public recreation system and Measure 3, which supports the Heart of America Public Library.

Stewart said employee costs would increase. “Health care costs are one of the biggest (increases),” she said of city employee insurance plans. “I have listed 2020 and 2021 premiums, July through December, and the premiums will change mid-year, and we have the costs estimated based on that.”

Stewart also noted decreases in state aid revenues, showing the council a graph indicating a 5.25 percent decrease to date from last year.

Highway tax distributions showed a to-date decrease of about 11 percent since 2014 and projected tax distributions were pegged at about 15 percent less than 2019, according to information Stewart presented.

Stewart told the council the city saw a sales tax increase of 10.53 percent over the same time last year.

Stewart showed the council a list of budget transfers, which included: $21,000 to offset recreation costs, $5,000 set aside for a police car; two $50,000 transfers for pool repairs; water treatment and distribution at $70,000 each, for a total of $140,000; $69,000 to pay for a raw line project; $50,000 for sewer capital improvement; $33,940 for a fire hall bond payment; $16,440 for public buildings and ground maintenance; $136,000 from the city infrastructure fund for highway and street maintenance; $171,257 from the city infrastructure fund to pay the city’s portion of a 2009 special street project and $38,190 from the city infrastructure fund to pay the city’s portion of 2103-2 Chalmers Addition special assessments.

Stewart said city employee salaries and benefits budgeted for 2021 amounted to $1,260, 259.

Stewart told the board that Rugby’s home rule charter gave the city the power to establish mill levies.

The council voted unanimously to adopt the budget.

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