Coralville City Council votes to approve budget, raise transit fares

Property tax rate to stay the same, but residents will pay more because of state rollback

March 28, 2014 | 12:00 pm

CORALVILLE — Residential taxpayers will pay more next year due to an increased state rollback rate.

The Coralville City Council voted unanimously to approve a balanced budget last night, after a public hearing in which one person spoke, thanking the council members for their work.

The budget maintains the tax rate of $13.5277 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. At that rate, the owner of a home assessed at $100,000 would pay $714.49 in city property taxes next year, up $28.39 from $689.10 this year. The change takes into account both the levy and the fact that the state’s rollback formula — which determines the percentage of a residential property’s value that’s subject to taxation — is increasing from 50.75 percent to 52.81 percent.

The budget projects an increase of between 1 and 2 percent in personnel costs. A precise increase won’t be clear until the city’s collective bargaining agreement with union employees is complete, which Tony Roetlin, Coralville’s director of finance, said should happen by June 2015.

A few areas of the budget will likely see notable increases next fiscal year, including about a $55,000 increase in library costs, which Roetlin attributed to technology improvements including public computer stations, server expenditures and staff computers. The general fund summary also notes a $35,000 increase in community beautification under an Iowa Department of Economic Development grant, most of which goes toward housing rehabilitation between Coralville and other cities in the area through the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County.

The City Council also voted Tuesday to raise transit fares from 75 cents to $1, marking the first fare increase since 1997. Roetlin said the fare increase is necessary in order to keep the general fund at the same level. That brings Coralville’s fares in line with Iowa City.

The budget for fiscal year 2014 also encompasses several capital projects, including $1.5 million toward remodeling of the Fifth Street fire station, $1.6 million toward extending Oakdale Boulevard east toward Dubuque Street, $528,000 toward downtown street improvements and $4.8 million toward widening Coral Ridge Avenue from its intersection with Holiday Road north toward Oakdale Boulevard.

The budget for fiscal year 2014 is effective July 1 of this year through June 30, 2014.

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