St. Francis lowers proposed levy increase to 4 percent

The city of St. Francis has amended its proposed 2013 budget to lower the previously proposed 2013 levy increase from 7 percent to 4 percent.

The main impact of the reduced levy increase is that the city’s general fund balance will shrink to 45.3 percent of the revenue budget, although that remains well within the state auditor’s guidelines of between 35 and 50 percent. The city’s actual fund balance in 2011 was 55.8 percent.

The new budget and levy were presented at the Dec. 3 St. Francis City Council meeting for public comment and questions as required by law. Three city residents expressed their opinions that the city’s taxes are still too high.

The proposed 2013 levy is $2,990,200, up from $2,873,160 in 2012. When added to the city’s other projected revenues, such as intergovernmental revenues, charges for services, license fees, etc., the city anticipates general fund revenues of $3,924,729 in 2013.

General fund expenditures are projected at $4,041,477, which is $116,748 greater than budgeted revenue, creating the gap that will drop the city’s general fund balance.

The 4 percent tax levy increase will result in a $68.14 property tax increase in 2013 over 2012 for a home with an estimated market value of $100,000, a $109.52 increase for a $140,000 home, a $150.89 increase on a $180,000 home and a $171.58 increase on a $200,000 home. The median value of a home in St. Francis is $133,200; homes at that value will pay $102 more than in 2012.

Major budget expenditure categories in the city’s 2013 budget are $736,355 for general government, $1,725,722 for public safety, $694,260 for public works, $370,160 for culture and recreation, $168,880 for community development, $6,100 in miscellaneous and $340,000 in transfers.

The St. Francis City Council will vote on the city’s final budget and levy Dec. 17.