WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council approved its 2021 proposed city tax levy, representing a 4% increase over 2020, during its Monday night meeting.

The amount includes an operating levy of $3,929,921 and special tax levies of $1,122,620. The proposed levy is an amount not to exceed and may be lowered, but not raised, prior to final levy certification in December.

“I’d like to thank staff and thank council members for working on this,” Worthington Mayor MIke Kuhle said. “I think it’s a responsible increase, and it doesn’t mean taxes are going up. … They could very well go lower.”

Councilman Chad Cummings echoed Kuhle’s comments that any increase in the city tax levy doesn’t translate exactly to identical increases in property owners’ taxes.

A related resolution passed by council members Monday approved the Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s 2021 proposed levy of $143,000, an increase of $6,000 over 2020.

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The council will host a 7 p.m. Dec. 4 meeting to discuss the final 2021 budget and levy. A truth-in-taxation hearing will take place at this time, during which public input will

be taken prior to adoption.

Also Monday, as part of public works-related business, the council approved a pair of donations from local businesses that will benefit community parks.

A $50,000 donation from Bedford Industries will go toward the installation of a new restroom at Ludlow Park. The company previously teamed with the city on other significant Ludlow Park improvements, including a new amphitheater, new sidewalks, donated benches and a new parking lot.

“The scale is amazing in what they’ve donated to that park and that whole area,” Kuhle said.

Additionally, a proposal from Bedford Technologies to provide 128 feet of its SmarterFence product for the city’s Puppy Park — in exchange for the ability to market and document its installation — was approved by council members. City staff has determined that new fencing is needed by the park’s parking lot; as a metal cable currently defines the parking area boundary.

In an additional public works item, the council took action to declare five city buildings as surplus property. They are: the police storage building at 707 S. Shore Dr.; the former park shop located at 707 S. Shore Dr.; the semi-trailer storage building at 700 Second Ave. (fieldhouse site); and the two former maintenance shops at 700 Second Ave.

“A couple people have inquired about a couple of them,” Worthington Public Works Director Todd Wietzema said. Council members and city staff expressed hope the city would ultimately be able to save on demolition costs.

Among further business Monday, the council approved:

* A bid of $157,398.39 from Hulstein Excavating, Edgerton, (slightly more than $3,000 below the city engineering estimate) for Cherrywood Addition storm sewer improvements. The approval came following a brief discussion as to whether Hulstein, despite being the low bidder, would be best suited to do the work.

“We don’t have any negative experience with this contractor on this type of work,” Worthington City Administrator Steve Robinson said.

* A change order resulting in an additional cost of $72,788.93 for Clair Van Grouw Construction for work at the Centennial Park shelter site, Buss Field restroom, and the Slater Park restroom and shelter. Costs associated with the proposed changes are $71,045 for the soil corrections, and $1,743.93 for the change to electric heat.

* A conditional use permit for Independent School District 518 to develop a new 123,846-square-foot intermediate school on property it owns west of Crailsheim Road. The location is slightly less than one-half mile south of its Learning Center facility.

The Worthington Planning Commission had recommended approval of the CUP on a 5-1 vote on Sept. 1. Council members voted unanimously Monday to grant the CUP.

It’s hoped that the intermediate school will be completed in time for the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

* A change order of $37,718 for DK Buildings LLC, the contractor for the city’s 10th Street Plaza site. The change order includes removal of previously unknown items on the site as well as soil corrections.

A number of unknown footings, utilities and parts of a former gas station needed to be removed during excavation, Wietzema explained. “A small over dig” for the restroom footings and the placements of a “substantial amount of aggregate” under the shelter floor were also necessary, he said.

The city’s total contract price for the project is now $1,185,218.