City sees decrease in preliminary tax levy

The New Prague City Council approved a resolution adopting its preliminary tax levy for 2014 during a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 9.

            The proposed 2014 levy is $3.8 million, a slight decrease of by $53,374 from the 2013 levy. The decrease is primarily due to the elimination of the market value debt levy for the previously existing library debt. That debt was retired in 2013.

            City Administrator Mike Johnson noted this was the sixth budget he’s worked on and there had been changes. While there is more detail, the budgets allow the council to see where the city is going. There is also more involvement from city staff. Johnson said that Patty Solheid, Administrative Services Coordinator, could take care of the final pieces if he couldn’t.

            Johnson said looking at the city’s estimated taxable net tax capacity for 2014 there is a projected value showing an increase of $333,676 over 2013. He noted if the city can close out the Mala Strana Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Project before the end of this year that will help increase the tax capacity. Either way it will be the first positive change in taxable value since 2009.

            "It is our hope and belief that the downward trend will be changing this year," said Johnson.

            The council also saw the preliminary budgets for the city’s various departments. Johnson said those will change before the council’s receives the final total budget. Johnson also noted Local Government Aid (LGA) is up for the first time in five years.

            The council approved the preliminary tax levy by a 3-0 vote, absent from the meeting were council members Dave Bruzek and Mark Bartusek.

            New Prague, like other cities, needed to set and have in its preliminary tax levy in by Monday, September 16. Traditionally the date is September 15, but that date falls on a Sunday this year. While cities can reduce their tax levies after September 16, they can not increase them.