On Feb. 15, the Forest City Council held public hearings approving a maximum property tax levy that is increased for the 2021-22 fiscal year and also addressing its planned Phase ID electric upgrade project.
Former city administrator/budget consultant Barb Smith said that while the max levy was increasing 6.5 percent (approximately $1.65 million to $1.76 million total), the property tax rate would actually be going down about 25 cents per thousand. Smith noted that some levy fund balances have grown larger and that a portion of those funds would be used to help reduce the property tax levy.
Smith added that over the past three years, the property tax levy has been reduced about 75 cents per thousand. The city's operation of a transit system and hotel/motel tax revenues being down due to COVID-19 were listed as reasons for budget increase.
The council set a 7 p.m. March 15 public hearing on the approval of its fiscal year 2022 budget.
The underground electric project public hearing was necessary before moving forward with the project. Council members established a 7 p.m. April 5 public hearing to allow the Phase 1D underground electric project to go out for bids. The bids received will be opened at 1:30 p.m. March 16 prior to awarding bids at the April 5 hearing. The council also approved notice to bidders on the project.
During community reports, Forest City Economic Development Director Beth Bilyeu informed the mayor and council that it is actively raising funds to redevelop the former (Irish) hospital building. Police Chief Tom Montgomery informed the council that the police force is fully staffed with a new officer starting in the next two weeks.
Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at email@example.com.