Archive for Thursday, July 12, 2007

Valuation, sales taxes help city hold line

July 12, 2007

The city's property tax levy would lower slightly in the coming year, if City Council members accept City Administrator Mike Smith's proposed 2008 budget.

The council will conduct a work session tonight to consider Smith's proposed "2008 Annual Program of Services," which details the 2008 city budget.

Smith's proposal calls for a city levy of 34.217 mills, just under the 34.575 mills in this year's budget.

A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed valuation.

Under the proposed budget, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would pay $393 to fund the city budget in 2008, about $4 less than this year.

A healthy increase in assessed property valuation helped the proposed budget hold the line on taxes. Total valuation in Lansing was put at $72.57 million - up more than $5.5 million from a year ago.

Smith credited the increase to both commercial and residential construction.

"I was pleasantly surprised," he said. "I expected it to go up; I just didn't think it would go up that much."

The new commercial outlets brought on by some of the construction will make their mark on the city's sales tax collections, too, Smith forecasts.

A year ago, the city planned for sales tax collections to bring in $560,000; Smith projects 2008 sales tax collections to bring $630,000 into the city's coffers.

The budget isn't all about revenues, though. The proposal projects general fund expenditures of $4.3 million, up from $4 million this year.

Smith is asking the council to consider adding a full-time officer to the police force, making Ken Miller, the city's Main Street project liaison, a permanent full-time employee working with both the city's Public Works and Economic Development departments, and a part-time clerical worker in the Public Works Department.

The proposal to be discussed tonight is just that: a proposal.

"These are my suggestions," Smith said. "The council can accept them or change them.

"Of course, if they take anything out, the budget goes down; if they add anything, it obviously goes up."

Smith characterized his budget proposal as straightforward.

"I think it is a conservative budget this year," he said. "One that allows us to do the basic things we need to do."

Smith has asked the council to set a public hearing on the budget for its Aug. 2 meeting. After the public hearing is completed, the council will be asked to approve the budget.

Also during tonight's work session, council members are slated to discuss the city's policy for rentals at the Lansing Community Center.

The work session gets under way at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 800 First Terrace.

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