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Posted on: February 5, 2020

Proposed Budget Lowers City Levy Rate

Budget Review

The proposed 2020-2021 General Fund budget for the City of Sioux Center calls for a slight decrease in the tax levy, making this the 11th consecutive year the city tax levy rate has seen no change or decreased.

The Sioux Center City Council reviewed the proposed budget, which calls for a levy rate of $11.2560 per taxable $1,000, a 0.7% decrease from the current budget. The proposed General Fund expenditures show a decrease of nearly $500,000 in the 2020-21 budget as well.

The assessed value in Sioux Center has increased by nearly 9 percent, with half of that representing growth and new construction, said City Finance Director Darryl Ten Pas.

The state of Iowa has lowered the rollback percentage for residential and multi-residential properties slightly for the 2020-21 fiscal year. With the proposed lower city levy rate and decreased rollback, the city portion of taxes on a $200,000 home would be about $50 lower than on a home of that same value last year, Ten Pas noted.

Highlights of the proposed 2020-21 budget:

• Police Employee

The proposed budget includes the addition of a police officer to the department. City Manager Scott Wynja said adding an officer has been discussed for the past several years. “With the growth that we’ve seen, we certainly feel it’s a need to have an additional officer,” Wynja said, adding that Sioux Center’s department is smaller than others in similar-sized communities.

• Ambulance staffing

The city intends to bring on some additional part-time staff to cover open shifts for Sioux Center Ambulance.

• Playground and parks plans

Accessibility improvements are planned for the Children’s Park playground area, including sidewalks and bonded mulch around the play equipment. A new Tower Fields playground is also planned, including new ground materials for safety. Dollars are also set aside for trail improvements in Sioux Center and updating the disc golf course at Children’s Park following the construction there.

• Green space and ballfield access

Work is anticipated on the planned new green space area north of the new high school. The gravel road from the current high school to the football stands will be paved, creating a more accessible connection to the baseball and softball diamonds as well as students biking to school on the bike trail along the sports fields.

• Highway 75 planning

Sioux Center will continue working with DGR Engineering as well as Confluence, a landscape architecture and planning firm, in the design process, working toward the planned 2023-24 two-year reconstruction of Highway 75 in Sioux Center.

• Revenue increase from Siouxnami

The All Seasons Center is budgeting for a $146,000 increase in pool revenue from Siouxnami admissions and annual passes, offsetting an increase in expenses for the ASC.

• Local Option Sales Tax

Half of the Local Option Sales Tax, $415,000, will go into the general fund as property tax relief, the remaining portion will help pay for Siouxnami Waterpark’s construction and recreation trail projects in Sioux Center.

• Storm sewers

Utility staff will be working on reducing infiltration from sump pumps and will rebuild some storm water intakes.

• Approving the budget

The city council will hold a public hearing on the proposed Fiscal Year City property tax levy on Feb. 19, 2020, at 4 p.m., at the City Office council room. Read more about the proposed levy rate and this public hearing.

 A public hearing on the proposed 2020-21 budget is set for the council’s March 17 meeting, after which the council will decide whether to approve it. That March 17 meeting is set for at 4 p.m. in the City Office. Copies of the budget are available for review at the City Office and the Sioux Center Public Library.

The city’s portion accounts for approximately 35 percent of the total property tax bill. The total bill also includes taxes levied by the county, local school and Northwest Iowa Community College.

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