HASTINGS – The Hastings City Council discussed the preliminary budget for 2019-2020 fiscal year at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Dave Ptak, City Administrator, talked about the city budget. The construction of 42nd avenue west of Baltimore avenue is budgeted for construction next spring and there will be no assessments or property tax required for that project.
There is a ten percent increase in health care costs. There was also room in the budget for some road improvements.
We put money in the budget for the Parkview and Mount Sanai cemetery road improvements. Which was a big discussion that we had at a work session. Which I think is important. To get an overall plan and funded over, probably, three or four years to completely redo the roads in the cemeteries, which I think is an important thing.
There also may be a sales tax increase due to the Legislature passing the online sales tax collection.
The estimated valuation for 2019 is just over 1.4 billion dollars for the city of Hastings. And, as of right now, the recommended levy is not expected to increase this year, which is .4497 cents per 100 dollars of valuation.
Here is Dave Ptak’s presentation on the City Budget:
Kevin Johnson, the manager of Hastings Utilities, went over the utilities preliminary budget. He said that, as long as customers continue to show interest, phase 2 of the solar projects will be a priority next year.
Johnson was concerned about how much money is budgeted for tree trimming, as to avoid situations like this year where tree branches got damaged due to storms. He also said there are some other needs.
We still have a need and we still have not accomplished the cost of service and rate studies for electric and natural gas. Those are long overdue. We also have a need to automate. The mayor mentioned it earlier, we need to come into the 21st century. Automated Meter Infrastructure development, AMI, is needed. It’s a needed infrastructure, along with GPS.
Right now, they are budgeting just over 81 million dollars in overall revenue but just over 86 million dollars in expenses, which is a 5 million dollar deficit.
Johnson said they are not proposing any rate increases for electric, water, and sewer and they are proposing a rate increase for natural gas. The last increase was in the year 2000. He said it’ll be about a $1.90 average increase per month over the twelve month span.