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Howard considers options for 2020 budget, tax levy

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOWARD – The village board is keeping its tax levy options open to fund the 2020 budget.

Board members took their third look at the budget, Monday, Nov. 11, when Chris Haltom, director of administrative services, and Paul Evert, village administrator, presented financial figures.

The initial proposal calls for increasing the general fund levy by more than 7 percent to $5,296,801 with a hike in the capital projects levy of more than 14 percent to $1,351,797 for a total levy for village purposes of $6,648,598, nearly an 8.5 percent increase from the previous year.

However, an option that would add $300,000 to the capital projects levy with $150,000 for capital improvements and another $150,000 for funding fire department capital projects would increase the levy to $6,948,598, 13.38 percent higher than the previous year.

Haltom said the additional funds would go toward road resurfacing and a payment toward the purchase of a new ladder truck.

“It would add about $107 on the average tax bill, as opposed to $70 on the average tax bill,” Haltom said.

The village is now planning future projects and the financial impact with the County VV interchange at State Highway 29 and the reconstruction of Lineville Road having an effect on being able to still have funds available for projects such as road resurfacing.

Geoff Farr, director of public works, said he expects the village’s backlog of road resurfacing projects to increase with a decrease in funding for that purpose.

“I think our backlog will certainly increase when you’re only putting in 15 percent of what you want to be putting in for these projects,” Farr said. “You’ll see in the next two years when there’s $200,000 scheduled and then there’s zero (budgeted for resurfacing in 2022), we’re definitely going to get behind. There’s no two ways around that.”

Given the expected drop in funding for resurfacing, Trustee Chris Nielsen suggested another option to provide additional funding of possibly $200,000 to $400,000 more.

However, given the impact additional funding for road resurfacing could have on the tax levy, board members also stated they wanted to receive feedback from residents as to whether they favored higher property taxes for that purpose before giving the budget final approval.

Board members also asked Haltom and Evert to provide them with options for different levels of funding for road resurfacing and what the impact would be on the tax levy.

Final approval of the 2020 village budget and related tax levy will be up for consideration when the board meets Monday, Nov. 25.

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