The Chadron City Council had the first reading Monday night of the budget ordinance for the fiscal year that starts Oct 1st. It’s the first budget from new City Manager John Sutherland.
Boosted by federal COVID relief and stimulus funds, the budget goes from $16.3 million to $18.5-million dollars, including reserves, while the general fund, which includes most city operations, jumps from $4.7-million to $7.1-million.
Most of the increase in the general fund is for as-yet unspecified infrastructure projects using mostly federal money, although there is a proposed 2.5% pay raise for city workers that the council could bump to 4% by the final reading of the budget.
Chadron normally holds the formal budget hearing in conjunction with the second reading of the budget ordinance, but a new state law requires the budget hearing to be held separate from a regular council meeting.
Chadron is holding its tonight at 5:00, just one day after the first reading. Mayor Mark Werner thinks the public has a pretty good idea of what’s in the budget after several workshops and should be able to offer solid input tonight.
The budget has a property tax levy of $1-million, 145-thousand dollars. That’s about $44,000 more than this year because of increased valuation with the tax rate remaining the same for the third year at 43.71-cents per hundred of assessed value.
The city council also held the first reading last night of the ordinance setting city fees for the next year. There are no major changes, but the sewer base unit fee will go up either 3% or 85-cents to $29.45 a month or 5%-$1.40 to $30 a month.
The pool pass system would be tweaked to eliminate the need to determine if those on a family pass are family. Up to 6 names would be listed on a family group pass and only those individuals could use it.
Additional names could be added for $5 on day passes and $25 for a yearly pass. A less-expensive Couple-Single Parent group pass would be added for up to 4 individuals at a yearly cost of $310.