Fort Dodge City Council to act on budget Thursday

The Fort Dodge City Council will take final action on the roughly $64 million budget for 2013-2014 on Thursday.

The council will meet at 5 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 819 First Ave. S.

The unusual Thursday evening session has been scheduled to avoid conflicting with a visit next Monday by Gov. Terry Branstad, who will address the annual meeting of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, according to Mayor Matt Bemrich.

”Of course, we don’t want to miss the opportunity to hear the governor talk to the alliance,” he said. ”We’re just trying to accommodate the organization while still meeting our budget deadline.”

The council would ordinarily meet next Monday. The city’s budget must be filed with the state by the end of next week.

City staffers and elected officials have been working on the proposed budget since late last year. The spending plan is for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2014.

The proposed budget totals $64,380,356.

It includes a property tax hike of 90 cents which brings the levy to $20.82 per $1,000 of taxable value.

That tax rate would cost the owner of a typical Fort Dodge home $920.

The budget that the city government is operating with now totals about $103,421,647. City Manager David Fierke said the current budget includes about $40 million worth of work on the water and sanitary sewer systems, which accounts for most of the spending difference between the two budgets.

The current property tax rate is $19.92 per $1,000 of taxable value.

City officials have said the tax increase is driven largely by a mandatory increase in the amount the local government must contribute to employee pensions.

The budget retains city services at their current level. It also provides money for new trucks and other equipment needed for a change in the sanitation collection method that will begin later this year.

Also on Thursday, the council is expected to start the process of giving up city ownership of a little used cul-de-sac in the Fort Dodge Industrial Park to prepare for the construction of FedEx Ground package distribution center.