Clarinda held the line on property taxes Wednesday, March 11, when the city council approved the new city budget for Fiscal Year 2021.
The new budget takes effect July 1 and will feature the same levy rate of $17 per $1,000 of assessed valuation currently being paid by Clarinda property owners.
Prior to adopting the budget, the city council held a public hearing on the proposed budget. No public comments were received during the hearing.
“I have heard absolutely nothing from anyone. So, I would assume that means everyone is happy,” Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon said.
During previous discussions with the council, McClarnon said the Clarinda levy rate compared favorably with several neighboring cities. He said Shenandoah had a levy rate of $19.92; Red Oak, $17.69; Atlantic, $16.85; Harlan, $17.09; and Glenwood, $15.31. Council Bluffs also has a levy rate of $18.26 and Des Moines has a levy rate of $16.64.
Property taxes paid by Clarinda home or business owners are based on the assessed value of a property. However, those properties are not taxed at their full assessed value.
Instead, the state of Iowa has a rollback program that caps the taxable amount of a property. Commercial and industrial properties are taxed at 90 percent of their assessed value, while residential properties will be taxed at 55.0743 percent of their assessed value in Fiscal Year 2021 compared to 56.918 percent currently.
However, McClarnon said the value of residential property in Clarinda increased by $13 million this year compared to last year. The increase was due to a reassessment completed by the Page County Assessor.
Based on the combination of the state rollback and the proposed levy rate, McClarnon said the owner of a $100,000 house in Clarinda would see a $31 decrease in the city portion of their taxes for the new fiscal year. Meanwhile, the owner of a $200,000 business in Clarinda would see no change in their taxes next year.
As recommended by the Benefit Committee, the new budget also featured a 3 percent pay increase for all salaried employees in the city. Full-time hourly employees would receive a $0.50 per hour raise, while part-time employees would receive a $0.25 per hour raise.
When combined with the employee benefits, McClarnon said city employees could receive a 4.4 percent total package increase. That includes 2.7 percent for wages.
The city budget for Fiscal Year 2021 must be certified with the state of Iowa by March 31.
Also Wednesday, the council approved a tax abatement request on a development in the City-Wide Urban Revitalization District from James and Linda Green. The request was for a five-year graduated abatement on a condominium constructed at 910 South 18th St.
“They’re actually a little late getting this in. If we do it now, they’ll probably have to pay the full taxes for one year and then after that they would end up qualifying,” McClarnon said.
In other business, Brenda Williams had requested to have chickens at 310 W. Stuart St. in Clarinda for a 4-H project. However, Williams was unable to attend the meeting to answer questions about the request, so no action was taken.