The issue is forcing Mayor
He says the situation with low assessed values is getting to the point where the city will have to either start cutting services or create new sources of revenue.
"That is the frustrating part, it really should be building, it shows that we are not keeping up with inflation and the cost of services," said Stutsman.
Overall, the city is set to lose an estimated
"I think in 2017 we will see the assessed values move up and it has moved up, it just has been going slow," said Stutsman. "To get that to really start bumping up, we need that new investment, that private investment.
Still, Stutsman says at the progress growth is coming, it will be necessary to look at ways to generate additional revenue for the city or cut back on services. What that may look like for the city is still up in the air, but Stutsman mentioned a few ideas, including a surtax, wheel tax and an environmental fee.
Stutsman is currently working with
"If you spend
While the budget proposes a 3.5-percent raise across the board for city employees, it also reflects cuts in the
Not only is Stutsman concerned about the revenue currently coming into the city, he also has an eye on future expenses, expenses that are building at a rapid pace.
Over the next 10 years, Stutsman says if the budget allowed it, 17 new employees would be needed to fill now-vacant city government spots. Also, with the expansion of the city and future growth, there are a few big ticket items that need looked at, including renovation of the second floor of the City Annex building on
On top of that, Stutsman says city-owned vehicles need to be replaced. In total, he estimates over
"We can stretch that out and not replace the maintenance vehicles we should be replacing and fix things as they break, which will save us a lot of money, but it's going to flesh out in the future to much larger chunks of money needed at one point, so we are trying to get to a place were we are replacing them consistently so that you do not end up with huge numbers," he said. "I wanted to show that property tax caps keep hitting us, it is important that we either start cutting or find new revenue, and in doing either of those two things that really does not begin to answer our needs."
One bright spot -- the city's health insurance costs. They've held steady thanks to the city's plan being mixed with much larger companies, such as
"While some have seen 8 to 9 percent increases in their health insurance, it has averaged anywhere from 2 to 4 percent for the city of
Stutsman says that the city charges employees a flat amount,
Moving forward, Stutsman says it will be up to the council and him to remain frugal with taxpayer money to keep the city viable. He says he is dedicated to making sure that taxpayers still receive the great services they expect from the city.
"Things are starting to look better, even though we are losing
Stutsman formally presents the budget to the
WHAT IS A PROPERTY TAX CIRCUIT BREAKER?
Circuit breakers aim to cap property taxes for homeowners, business owners and others based on the assessed valuation of their property.
That's good news for homeowners, but not so great for cities and other government locales, which can experience reductions in the property tax revenue they would otherwise be able to collect
Per the rules, enshrined in the Indiana Constitution, the property tax on a homeowner-occupied home -- the property that serves as someone's main dwelling -- is currently capped at 1 percent of it's gross assessed valuation. That means if the assessed valuation of the property, as determined by the county assessor, is
If the tax rate would otherwise boost the tax bill past
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