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City levy drops 6.5% because of higher valuation

Clymer: Broader tax base helpful

Property owners may get a reprieve from paying more in city taxes this year.

A 17% hike in valuation means more money for Gothenburg and a broader tax base, according to city administrator Bruce Clymer.

That helps drop the city levy 6.5% which may keep higher property taxes at bay for some homeowners if real estate values didn’t increase.

More specifically, the proposed .31025 levy means taxes on a home valued at $100,000 will drop to $310 compared to last year’s .33165 levy and a $332 tax bill.

Clymer said he thinks Gothenburg, with its lower tax levy, compares well to other communities, noting that the city’s levy is the lowest of the three largest towns in the county.

Smaller increases than last year are proposed in the 2012-13 city budget and tax asking.

Property taxes are expected to rise 9.4% ($570,527), compared to 11.4% last year. The budget, set to increase 12.7%, was nearly double (23.7%) last year, largely because of costly sewer improvements.

“The increase is to fund projects we’re trying to get accomplished,” he said.

Clymer said the city expects to receive $107,012 in municipal equalization aid but no state aid which was eliminated a year ago by state lawmakers.

Because of high valuation, he said equalization aid could drop dramatically next year because of what the city provides with its own resources.

Electrical bills are expected to increase 6.5% which will be decided by council members in December or January of 2013.

That’s because wholesale power rates, charged by Nebraska Public Power District, are expected to rise 4.2%.

Increasing city water rates 5% will also be on the council table but sewer and waste removal costs are not expected to go up, Clymer said.

Earmarked for employee salaries and benefits is $2,021,037 compared to $1,913,707 this past year.

The Gothenburg Airport Authority’s levy, although separate from the city budget is added to the city’s to determine if the 45 cents per $100 valuation lid is met.

Authority board members have requested $93,174 compared to $41,905 this year.

The increase in the amount, city officials said, is to help pay for capital improvements such as hanger and runway improvements, installation of a credit card system for flight fuel and other things.

Highlights of the budget, which can be viewed at city hall, are listed below.

The council will have public hearings on the budget and tax request at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, in city council chambers.

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