The St. James City Council held a special session Monday, Sept. 9 to discuss and approve the preliminary levy for 2014. There us a 10 percent increase from the 2013 levy in the new levy, which is estimated to bring in a maximum of $1,149,099 for St. James.
A preliminary levy must be approved and submitted by Sept. 15. Once a preliminary levy is approved the maximum amount a city can levy for is the amount documented in the preliminary levy, however, council members can reduce the levy when it is finalized in December. City Manager Joe McCabe says the council will continue to look at the levy during these next few months to see where expenses can be cut to limit the levy amount.
Purchases that will effect the 2014 levy include:
• A 23 percent increase in major medical.
• Costs for the 2014 primary and general election.
• An increase in the fire department capital outlay for the cold storage building.
• Wages paid out of the general fund for office help that have been taken from the electric fund.
• An increase in auditor and attorney fees.
• The rewording of a few ordinances so they are in synch with the court system.
• New computers for squad cars.
• Increase funding for seal coating roads on the south side of town.
• Snow and ice control along with street lighting and community, park system and library buildings repair and maintenance.
After the financial statements are submitted Nov. 1, the St. James city council will be able to take a more specific look at their budget for 2014. This includes an in depth look at enterprise funds.
Residents will likely see a slight decrease in their electric bills (0.005 percent) due to the city dropping energy conservation coverage. At this time, the city is not anticipating any rate increase in water or electric bills.
However, residents may see an increase in the cost for wastewater since the city is currently showing a deficit in the wastewater fund. The city is required to have a positive balance in this account, so council members will have to find a solution to the deficit issue.