City Council Approves 2017 Budget, Property Tax Rate Expected to Remain About The Same as Current Year

The city’s annual budget approved Monday by the Decatur City council during its regular meeting will provide for continued capital projects and necessary equipment purchases and is built upon what is expected to be a property tax rate that remains about the same as last year.

Members voted 7-0 in favor of the proposed 2017 budget, a financial roadmap for the city that calls for general fund expenditures of $67.1 million and total expenditures of nearly $173 million when taking into account special revenue funds, capital and debt service and other organizational funds.  While revenues are expected to be relatively flat next fiscal year, past decisions have positioned the city to not have to request additional tax increases to fund operations.

As part of the budget process Council did pass a series of licensing fee increases implemented not as a revenue stream but to cover the costs realized by the City to issue the licenses. The resulting fees are as follows:

  • Video Gaming License – $250 per device
  • Construction and Excavation in Streets – $75
  • Fire Prevention and Hazardous Materials (Fireworks) – $300
  • Hotel Use Tax – $400
  • Transient Merchants – $100 flat fee
  • Amusement Devices – $40 per device
  • Sign Hangers – $75 flat fee
  • Vehicles for Hire – $100 per vehicle
  • Vehicle for Hire Driver – $80 per vehicle
  • Mobile Home Parks – $450 flat fee
  • Ambulance Service – $400 flat fee
  • Alcoholic Liquor – $2,200

A vote to adjust license fees for places of amusement was tabled while a recommended increase for secondhand stores, auction houses and rummage rooms was rejected.

In other business, the Council on Monday continued its discussion about a pending U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Consent Order requiring the city to address critical repairs and maintenance to local sanitary sewer systems and associated infrastructure. In total, there is more than $70 million in known problems and deferred maintenance to be done to fix the critical sanitary sewer related issues facing the community.

To address the problem, the city is proposing sanitary sewer rate user fee increases per 100 cubic feet of water usage of 15 cents in 2017 and 2018, 9 cents in 2019-2021 and 2.5% in 2022 and 2023. As part of the plan the city will:

  • Increase sewer cleaning and de-rooting
  • Increase Sewer Engineering
  • Reduce Basement Backups
  • Eliminate Inflow Connections
  • Provide Flow Monitoring to determine system capacity

Contact Billy Tyus at 217-424-2727 for more information.