While there may not be highly contested council seats or multiple mayoral candidates on this year’s city election ballot, there is still a VERY IMPORTANT reason for residents to get out and vote. In November, citizens will be asked to vote Yes or No on the following:
Shall the City of Britt, Iowa, establish a continuing capital improvement reserve fund pursuant to §384.7, Code of Iowa, for the purpose of road infrastructure, public safety equipment, public works vehicles, utility infrastructure improvements, etc., and certify taxes at the rate of 67.5 cents per thousand dollars of taxable value each year until terminated by election, by resolution adopted by the city council or by petition of eligible electors of the City of Britt?
What does that mean? Voting Yes, would allow the city to establish a reserve fund specifically designated for capital improvement projects and equipment including road infrastructure, public safety equipment, public works vehicles, utility infrastructure and related items. This levy would apply a tax of 67.5 cents per $1000 of assessed property value – meaning that a home valued $85,000 would cost the tax payer $57.38 cents per year. In total the levy would bring in an estimated $33,500 per year for the Capital Improvements Fund.
How does benefit the city and residents? Voting Yes to the development of the Capital Improvement Fund would help establish a reserve fund to be used for larger improvement projects and could save the city from bonding for some items. When the city bonds for a project or to make a larger purchase, the city pays interest on those bonds. Recently the city bonded for the purchase of a new police vehicle and computers for all police department vehicles – both items could have been paid out of a capital improvement fund and saved the city and its residents the cost of the interest. Here’s an example; the city will need to purchase a new firetruck in the next few years. Estimated cost to purchase the truck will be upwards of $400,000. On a 12 year loan with an interest rate of 3.59 percent, the city will pay over $93,000 in interest. If money was available in a Capital Improvement Fund, we could allocate that $93,000 to other projects like resurfacing a road. In the long run, a reserve fund would allow the city to continue to work on improvements by decreasing the amount of interest the city pays.
Would this new fund allow for immediate purchase of new equipment or major street projects? Not immediately, it will take several years to build up a fund capable of purchasing major equipment like firetrucks or to accommodate larger street projects. Estimated costs for rebuilding 1st Steet SW is right at $2.5 million dollars; projects of this magnitude will still need to be bonded for and will likely happen in the next 3-5 years. However, the fund may allow for smaller street projects like overlays similar to the one just completed on 3rd Street SW.
I truly believe that the establishment of a Capital Improvements Fund is incredibly important for our city and its budget. We are all aware that we have several large projects ahead of us, including continued work on city streets, the commercial park development, infrastructure repairs and more, and this reserve fund has the potential to help ensure we’re financially prepared to keep the city moving forward.
That’s why I am asking all of you to VOTE YES on November 7.