City adopts preliminary tax levy

The New Prague City Council unanimously approved a resolution at its Monday, Sept. 18, meeting adopting the 2017 property tax levy for taxes payable in 2018. The preliminary levy is one that the council can lower, but not raise. After much discussion the council went with an option where the proposed 2018 property tax levy is $4,166,210, an increase of $169,210 or 4.23 percent over the 2017 property tax levy.

City Administrator Mike Johnson explained to the council that option was one presented to the council at a special meeting on Monday, Aug. 28. He reminded the council the city had reviewed all of its departments’ budgets. He noted since then the city has received its health insurance renewal rates for 2018. The proposed health insurance renewals are at 29.4 percent for 2018 from the Southwest/West Central Service Coop. The city will also have to reconsider the cost allocations for various personnel that are allocated to both the general fund and the other enterprise funds. The accumulated impact of both of those actions resulted in the proposed 2018 expenses increasing by $135,222 to $4,965,943.

Johnson said other cities are also seeing increases in their health insurance renewal. He and the city’s Finance Director Patty Solheid met with an insurance representative about the changes. The city may have an option for a lower health insurance renewal. Johnson cautioned that the numbers were not final. If the $135,222 increase remains, the council could consider several possibilities where they could add to revenues or reduce expenses. The council was offered two options with the first being what it had seen on August 28. The second option was to go with a preliminary property tax levy of $4,301,432, an increase of $304,432 or 7.62 percent over the 2017 property tax levy.

Council member Amy Jirik said with option one she still had a lot of questions. She wondered if there was perhaps an option in the middle of the two.

The council discussed.....

To see more on this story pick up the September 21, 2017 print edition of The New Prague Times.