Fort Dodge discusses budgets
Operations of the Fort Dodge Public Library and Blanden Memorial Art Museum would remain essentially unchanged under proposed budgets introduced Monday.
The City Council reviewed proposed spending plans for those institutions, plus the Karl King Municipal Band, Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau and Dodger Area Rapid Transit. The elected officials didn’t make any changes to the proposals.
The council is working on the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2015. The budget must be done by mid-March to comply with state law.
The library budget proposal calls for spending $717,400 and receiving an equal amount of revenue from property taxes and fees.
The current library budget is $683,400.
Spending increases include more money to pay for maintenance contracts. That’s a budget line item that Library Director Barb Shultz said was reduced significantly a few years ago and is now being increased to meet demand.
The budget plan also includes a full year of pay for a full-time maintenance worker to be hired this spring, during the current fiscal year. The maintenance work is now being done by part-time employees.
MIDAS Council of Governments, which operates the bus system for the city, is requesting $267,200 from the local government.
That includes $217,000 for operating expenses and $50,000 to help pay for some new vehicles, according to Jay Kammerer, the transit manager for MIDAS.
That budget request is up from the current level of $267,000.
Kammerer said the $50,000 would help pay for one van and two buses, all of which would replace older units now in service.
The city levies a property tax of 42 cents per $1,000 of taxable value to support the transit system. That tax would remain unchanged in 2014-2015 under the proposal.
The money received from the city government is just a portion of the funding that supports the bus system. Additional money is received from fares, plus the federal and state governments.
Kammerer said the bus system provided 173,298 rides last year.
More than 21,000 of those rides were to and from Iowa Central Community College, according to Councilman Jeffrey Halter. He said Iowa Central contributes $2,000 a year for the bus service, and added that he’d like to find out if it would provide some more money.
The proposed budget for the museum located at 920 Third Ave. S., is $238,100.
That’s up from the current budget of $228,900.
The proposed budget includes money to hire a museum educator to replace Linda Flaherty, who recently retired. Margaret Skove, the museum director, said the budget calls for three full-time employees and one part-time employee.
Convention and visitors bureau
A portion of the revenue from the 7 percent tax added to hotel and motel bills in the city pays for the operations of the convention and visitors bureau. That money is then used to promote the community to potential visitors from other places.
The proposed budget for the bureau is $183,218, down from the current $183,796.
The proposal includes a 3 percent raise for Kerrie Kuiper, the bureau’s marketing director.
The Karl King Municipal Band is supported by a property tax levy of 5.5 cents per $1,000 of taxable value.
The proposal presented Monday calls for increasing that levy to 6 cents per $1,000 of taxable value.
The current band budget is $35,100. The proposed spending plan totals $38,000.
That increase would provide the first raise for band members since 2007. Information on how much band members are paid wasn’t available at Monday’s council meeting.