Mendota City Council Holds Taxes, Errs on Budget

The levy cannot be raised to cover a budget gap OK'd Tuesday.

Good news: The approved a stable preliminary tax levy for 2012 at their meeting Tuesday night.

Bad news: The preliminary budget also approved for 2012 is actually $14,114.13 over projected revenue, rather than a comfortable distance from the red ink as the council thought.

The confusion most likely hinged on whether a $13,000 Local Government Aid payment was included in the figures or not while the council made additions and subtractions.

“I just think it got overlooked,” said City Clerk Jennifer Bruestle.

The budget will have to be revisited in October to correct the mistake, but the levy can only be lowered, not raised, once a preliminary amount is set.

“The plan is we’ll circle back at the next meeting,” said Mayor Brian Mielke, “We’re pretty hamstrung by not being able to do anything with the levy at this point.”

Spending and Savings

The levy will gather $151,860 in property taxes from residents, the same amount collected last year.

“I think we owe our residents that,” said Mielke at the meeting.

Increases in the 2012 budget over this year include $5,000 dedicated to , an increase in the budget for road sanding and $2,000 for voting equipment. The will increase by $4,962.

The budget projects savings in insurance, the cost of the spring cleanup dumpster rental that isn’t scheduled for 2012 and potential savings from the road commissioner position. The council also agreed to extend their resolution forgoing any payment into 2012.

Permits and fees aren’t scheduled to change, however, an update of the city’s building fees will likely result in an increase starting in the new year, said building inspector David Neameyer.

Possible Easy Fix?

Bruestle said that last year’s revenue exceeded projections by roughly $30,000, and she anticipates another surplus this year, which could absorb the difference.

Mielke said that with a number of debts dropping off the books in coming years, a combination of cuts and reserves could also be used for the time being if extra revenue doesn’t carry over.

A final levy is due to the county at the end of December.


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