Jefferson City council reviews budget for upcoming fiscal year

By Rick Morain
Jefferson Herald

The Jefferson City Council on Tuesday reviewed its detailed 25-page proposed budget for fiscal year 2023-24, which begins July 1.

The budget was presented after preparation by the city staff and the council’s financial committee. It proposes roughly $3 ¼ million in city revenues and expenditures for the coming fiscal year. The total levy rate, including general fund and debt service, is pegged at $15.43 per thousand dollars of taxable valuation, an increase of 11 cents per thousand or about seven-tenths of one percent above the current year’s figure of $15.32.

Key changes from the current year’s budget include the creation of the new part-time animal shelter director position and the sharp increase in the inflation rate. Inflation in 2020 stood at 1.4 percent; in 2022 it had soared to 6.5 percent. That increase requires higher expenditures in almost every city department, with higher salaries and equipment prices expected in the coming year.

The budget includes the first year of five-year fee increases for water and sanitation services. Major street projects include crack sealing of a number of city streets, resurfacing of West Lincoln Way from Highway 4 to Grimmell Road, and paving of the South Wilson, golf course, and animal shelter parking lots.

The council approved the proposed budget for presentation at public hearings in the next few council meetings.


A bid of $108,905 to improve the entrance to city hall at 220 North Chestnut was accepted. Only one bid was received for the project, from Tallgrass Land Stewardship Co. of Waukee. The engineer’s estimate for the project was $94,690, and the Tallgrass bid exceeded that figure by about 15 percent. But the bid was $30,000 below the only bid received when the project was first bid in July of last year. Work is expected to begin as soon as weather permits.


The council approved a resolution supporting art improvements to the alley on the west side of the square. Jean Van Gilder said the project, called Imagination Alley, will include a colorful archway, a 100-foot interactive mural, new benches, and a reimagined lamppost to provide needed lighting to the area.

All artistic elements, including the animation for the augmented reality mural, will be done by Iowa artists. Van Gilder said the committee has applied for a large grant to fund the project, and the council’s approval of the project is sought for the grant.


• The council approved the hiring of Joe Foote as the new golf course clubhouse manager. His salary will be $34,000 for the eight-month position.
• An agreement for materials testing for the new wastewater treatment plant project with Construction Materials Testing of Des Moines for $28,427 was approved. Two other companies, Certified Testing Services of Storm Lake and Terracon of Des Moines, also submitted bids. Jim Leiting of Bolton & Menk, the city’s consulting engineer, said the winning bid had the lowest per-unit pricing for the work.
• The council placed on first reading, waived the second and third readings, and approved an ordinance creating a seven-member animal shelter board to be responsible for operation of the new animal shelter.
• Annual tax abatements for two properties for the year 2022 were approved: the Heartland Bank building for $980,100 and the Keith Van Beek home for $334,200.
The council meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers on second floor of city hall.


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