East Bethel’s 2013 levy may actually go down

In its ongoing effort to find a way to keep the city’s tax levy from increasing at all in 2013, the East Bethel City Council may actually end up with a levy amount that is less than the current year’s.

The council Nov. 7 reviewed two budget and levy alternatives compiled by city staff. One of the budget alternatives accounts for $60,000 in additional revenue for providing building inspection services to the city of Oak Grove, resulting in a levy reduction of 0.9 percent.

The other alternative, in which the proposed building inspection services agreement with Oak Grove falls through, delays the hiring of a building inspector until April 2013, which still results in a levy reduction of 0.05 percent.

The council had approved a preliminary 2013 budget and levy in September that would have called for a levy increase of less than 1 percent. The final levy, which the council will vote on in December, may be the same or less than the preliminary levy but may not be increased.

Items currently proposed for elimination in the final budget include $1,200 for a laser fiche scanner, $4,100 in fire department uniforms and training, $6,290 for a part-time park maintenance employee and $5,000 and $25,000 transfers from the city’s general fund to its trails and parks capital funds, respectively.