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Council to host budget hearing Monday

WORTHINGTON -- The city's total net levy in the proposed 2017 budget sits at $3,675,697, which represents a 6.8 percent increase over last year's levy.

WORTHINGTON - The city’s total net levy in the proposed 2017 budget sits at $3,675,697, which represents a 6.8 percent increase over last year’s levy.

  The Worthington City Council will vote to approve the final budget during Monday’s meeting. Prior to approving the budget, the council will host a budget hearing, as well as a “Truth in Taxation” presentation, where the public can comment on the proposed budget.

  City Administrator Steve Robinson said the proposed budget would likely go through without significant changes.

  “People are welcome to come in and express their opinions, but it’s unlikely it would have any impact on the pending budget for 2017,” Robinson said. “We have to, by law, establish our budget on Monday night, so we’re past the point of making significant adjustments.”

  “It’s more of the transparency, to help people understand how much is being taxed and where those tax dollars are being allocated within the budget,” he added.

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  The proposed levy increase is smaller than the 7.32 percent precertification figure given in September by about $17,907.

  The budget has been trimmed $11,000 because Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center lowered its expenses and increased its rents. Health care savings reduced the levy by $15,907, as rate increases were less than expected, and some of the city’s new hires with single coverage replaced employees who were on family plans.   

  Other changes included a $6,500 increase in the Center for Active Living’s janitorial budget and $2,500 toward a pumper truck.  

  Of the city’s more-than-$8 million general fund, 44 percent of funding comes from state aid, while 15 percent comes from taxes.

  Some of the biggest increases to the 2017 budget compared to last year are an additional $150,000 for street repairs and $308,000 for city salaries and benefits.

  Taxes toward the levy will be spread out among property owners based on their property value, so potential increases or decreases in taxes will vary on the market value of a property, as well as special assessments and the status of state and federal laws.

  “There are so many variables that play into this that it's not an accurate statement to say everyone’s taxes would go up 6.8 percent,” Robinson said. “People will see reductions in property taxes, others will see increases.”

  The city will provide a breakdown of the proposed budget during its budget hearing at Monday’s city council meeting, where it will also take questions and comments from residents.

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