The city’s annual budget for the coming fiscal year was discussed and approved at Monday night’s meeting of the Norfolk City Council.
Andy Colvin, city administrator, gave a presentation to the council about the proposed budget, saying the end product was a culmination of many people’s hard work.
Colvin said the city has a set of eight goals to accomplish with the new budget: economic development, enhancement of recreation and quality of life, street maintenance, community engagement, increasing emergency cash reserves, encouraging community property maintenance, stabilizing the Elkhorn River embankment and completion of the public library expansion.
Sales tax revenue is expected to decrease as a sales tax increase to fund the library expansion expired in March. Property tax levy rates will increase by 3.45 cents to fund flood control levee recertification.
Council president Jim Lange said the levee recertification is important for the whole city, especially property owners, so the tax increase is sensible.
About 38 percent of the general fund budget is funded by sales tax and about 14 percent is through property taxes. A lease paid by Nebraska Public Power District makes up about 21 percent of revenue, and the rest is funded through other means.
Some of the large projects included in the budget include repair of Braasch Ave. between First and Fifth streets, widening of Benjamin Avenue, trail and park projects and other infrastructure improvements.
Overall, Colvin said, there will be less spending in the coming year than the past year and the city will be able to build up cash reserves while meeting community development needs.
“I’m grateful we can have a careful, conservative budget,” said Norfolk mayor Josh Moenning. “I think that we can appreciate the good work that the staff does to do as much as we can with the resources that we have.”
He said he has read about other communities, such as Ralston, that have had to make high tax increases recently.
The council passed an ordinance approving the budget by unanimous vote on all readings. The council also passed a resolution approving property tax requests for the city’s Vehicle Parking Fund, General Fund and Debt Service Fund; and passed an ordinance adjusting the salaries of public employees.
The council took care of the rest of its agenda without much discussion. Among the other items passed Monday night were a zoning change at Highway 275 and South 25th St., adoption of a new electrical code and bids for new equipment at the Water Pollution Control Plant.
The council will meet next on Monday, Sept. 17, at 5:30 p.m.