Fonda eyes decrease in tax rate

FONDA – The village’s preliminary budget for 2014-15 is calling for a decrease in expenditures and an increase in the tax levy.

Village Treasurer JoAnn Downing said the projected 2014-15 village budget totals $966,080; that would be a decrease of about $132,006, or 13 percent, compared to the current budget.

Downing said the budget is expected to decrease because the village won’t need to purchase equipment. A new dump truck, a street sweeper and a zero-turn-radius lawnmower were some of the big items purchased during the current budget year, she said.

“In this year that we’re operating on we made a lot of equipment purchases and we don’t do that every year,” she said.

The village is projecting a decrease in the tax rate, from the current $7.93 to $7.88 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Downing said the projected tax levy for the 2014-15 budget is $206,500, which would be an increase of 2.48 percent.

She said the use of less fund balance and an increase in total taxable value helped increase the tax levy.

The village wanted to reduce the use of the fund balance in the next budget because of the amount used in the 2013-14 budget, Downing said.

The current budget originally had a general fund budget of $575,689.

“The general fund budget was amended to use the fund balance because the equipment purchases weren’t included in the original budget,” she said.

About $129,000 of the $575,689 general fund budget came from the fund balance. Later, the Village Board amended the general fund budget so that it increased to $630,689. The $55,000 difference was made up with additional fund balance.

In total, about $184,000 was used from the fund balance.

“You can’t use that much fund balance every year unless you’ve got a lot of money, so this year the fund balance has been reduced to $79,000 for the total general fund budget,” Downing said.

The Village Board added funding for two part-time laborers to help with landscaping and mowing in the village. The two jobs together total $5,000 in the proposed budget.

“We [add funding for part-time jobs] once in a while,” she said. “This year it was planned for; you have to plan for it, otherwise you can’t do it. By the time you’re done with the budget you don’t think to do stuff like that, but this year they thought to do it, so it’s happening.”

Downing said she doesn’t have any concerns with the 2014-15 budget, she just hopes the board sticks with its plans.

“When you plan for things you get them accomplished,” she said. “If you have a plan then stick to it, and there should be no reason for it to fail.”

The village board will hold a public hearing for the tentative budget April 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the village municipal building on 8 E. Main St. The budget may be adopted after the public hearing.