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Tara Vasicek Mug

Vasicek

The 2019-2020 budget and tax request on Tuesday was unanimously finalized and approved by members of the Columbus City Council.

This year’s tax request will generate $5,283,557 for the city, which has earmarked expenditures for the next year at $101,702,257. That figure is about 8-percent less than during last year’s budget cycle, according to information provided by City Finance Director Heather Lindsley.

The proposed tax request levy is staying constant to last budget cycle at $0.315186 per $100 of assessed valuation for city property owners. For example, someone owning $100,000 would pay $315.19. While the levy is staying the same, the proposed tax request would generate 7-percent more money for the city than during the 2018-2019 budget year.

In a memorandum sent by Lindsley to City Administrator Tara Vasicek, she highlighted how keeping the tax levy constant to last year falls in with the Council’s 2006 goal of controlling property tax income to grow no faster than the cost-of-living, plus growth due to new construction.

Budgeted capital expenditures for this budget cycle come in at $43,585,918 - about $9 million less than the 2018-2019 fiscal year – and a great deal of infrastructure work is being completed. From the 12th Avenue viaduct undertaking to several street, sewer and water projects, Vasicek said this type of significant investment is necessary to ensure that the city keeps growing and is able to handle an influx of business and home development.

In other city council business:

*A consideration of a second supplement to redevelopment plan entitled “Amendment to 33rd Avenue and U.S. Highway 30 Redevelopment Plan” for Phase 2 of the WHO Redevelopment Project was continued to the Sept. 16 council meeting. The item is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on at 7 p.m. Sept. 9.

*An ordinance on its third and final reading was approved that will officially ban miniature pigs within corporate city limits.

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*The council approved a quote in the amount of $13,189.99 from TY’s Outdoor Power & Service for a mower that will be used at the Wastewater Treatment facility.

*The council accepted a quote from Sterling West Inc. in the amount of $38,600 to replace two shelters at Quail Run Golf Course. At least a portion of this will be eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Again, I reached out to the city administrator and just asked (if) this would be part of reimbursement potential from FEMA as we move forward with our rebuild and our repairs,” Mayor Jim Bulkley said. “So again, it’s part of what we have laid out as the future of what we want to do.”

*The council passed a resolution enabling City Staff to submit an application to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development in relation to a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $445,000 for downtown revitalization ($400,000 for commercial rehabilitation, $10,000 for construction management and $35,000 for general administration.)

“If we receive the grant, there are program guidelines for the funds, but then the individual property owners can decide what work they want to do that’s within the program guidelines. And those program guidelines are very broad,” Vasicek said.

“It’s, you know, everything from facade to sidewalk to code deficiency improvements. That would include fire, electrical, plumbing, all those sorts of things, and hopefully we will incentive some revitalization of downtown.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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News Editor

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram, Schuyler Sun and The Banner-Press newspapers. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015.

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