City council moves ahead with proposed 2008 tax levy

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

The New Prague City Council will move ahead with its proposed 2008 net tax levy of $3.4 million. Only one person attended Monday's Truth in Taxation meeting.

Pat Scripture, who is a city employee, questioned the use of a discretionary fund, which is used for some unforeseen expenses at the state-mandated meeting. She felt such a fund should be budgeted.

Mayor W.A. Bink Bender explained that this fund is a budgeted fund.

In discussing the budget, New Prague City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack noted how state aid has been reduced over the years. At one time it was at 33 percent; now it is at 15 percent.

This year's proposed tax levy is approximately 18.3 percent more than last year's levy, which was $2.8 million. The 2008's levy's effect on a home valued at $153,150 would be about $741, while for a home valued at $306,300 it would be $1,631.

The levy will be finalized at the council's Monday, Dec. 17, meeting.

Assessment hearing

The council also unanimously approved assessments for its 2007 street projects as part of a special hearing. The streets include the cul-de-sacs on Gooseberry and Liberty Lanes as well as Lexington Avenue, beginning at Scott County State Aid Highway 37 to just north of Bruzek Lane.

Doug Parrott of Short Elliott Hendrickson (S.E.H.) Inc., the city's engineering firm, noted that the city would pay for work on the storm sewer and water main. Reconstructed sanitary sewer and water service line expenses would be assessed to residents.

Parrott said for the Lexington Avenue assessments, the city allowed a credit for the cost of the original street reconstruction since the street was being worked on earlier than expected. After deducting the credit from the cost to reconstruct the street, the balance was split among adjacent property owners, with 60 percent assessed and 40 percent paid by the city.

The estimated assessment rates for the three streets were $867 per unit for the water service line and $1,023 for the sanitary sewer service line. For Gooseberry and Liberty Lanes, there was street rehabilitation and curb and gutter repair that amounted to $3,360 per residential unit. On Lexington Avenue, street reconstruction was $4,814 per residential unit.

Bohnsack said residents may pay any or all of their assessments within 30 days of its approval, with no interest charged. After that time, it will become part of a resident's county taxes, payable over a 15-year period at a 5-percent interest rate.

Since the assessments were being done late in the year, the city would be completing an internal assessment for 2008, where the city will bill property owners directly for their 2008 portion with the assessment becoming part of the county taxes in 2009.

Emergency Services Center

The council unanimously approved $5.2 million in general obligation, capital-improvement plan bonds that will be used for the building of the Emergency Services Center.

Paul Donna of Northland Securities presented the bonds for the new 21,884 square-foot building that will be located at 600 Fourth Ave. NW, along Highway 21.

The New Prague Fire Department and Ambulance Service will use the center. The City of New Prague and the New Prague Rural Fire Association will jointly own the building, with the rural fire association paying for one-third of it.

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