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Terrytown sees $94,000 decrease in annual budget

September 11, 2018

TERRYTOWN — At the September meeting, members of the Terrytown City Council approved the upcoming year’s budget that came in about $94,000 less than the previous year.

Terrytown’s 2018-19 fiscal year budget is $7.745 million, down from last year’s $7.840 million.

“I was pleased to see that,” said Terrytown Mayor Kent Greenwalt. “The property tax request is up just a little bit, probably due to increased valuation from last year.”

The new property tax request is $109,585, up from last year’s $107,565. The new city assessed valuation was set at $25.760 million and a levy of .425406, just under 43 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Lonnie Miller, Terrytown city administrator and treasurer, said another factor in the property tax request going up was to help pay for an increase in the cost of law enforcement services, which are provided by Scottsbluff.

The city had previously negotiated a new contract with Scottsbluff to provide police coverage. The cost of service continued to increase but the contract hadn’t been adjusted for several years.

The largest part of the new budget was the water fund at $4.051 million. For the past several years, Terrytown has been pursuing a project to upgrade its water system.

The estimated $3.1 million cost is being financed by the city, plus funding from the state and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Phase 1 of the project has been completed with the city making connections with neighboring Gering to provide its water.

Greenwalt said once Phase 2 is approved by the state, which should happen this fall, the city will request proposals to install water meters for all homeowners and business owners.

“Our city engineer told us a lot of the work could be done during the winter,” Greenwalt said. “We might be able to finish that part of the project by late next summer.”

Until all the meters are installed, flat-rate water billing will continue. It’s been a challenge to break even, as Terrytown is paying Gering for the water it uses.

“So far, we’re just about breaking even on the cost of water,” Greenwalt said. “With fall approaching, residents’ water usage should start going down.”

Flat-rate water billing is a holdover from when Terrytown was still an unincorporated area. But once it became a Class B city with a population of around 1,200 residents, a metered water system became necessary. Once the meters are installed, homeowners and business owners will be charged for the water they use.

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