City will hold the line on tax rate in ‘14


For the third straight year the City of Clear Lake is holding the line on its tax rate.  

Monday night the Council set March 4 as the date for a public hearing on its proposed fiscal year 2014 budget.  

The proposed tax rate for the City of Clear Lake for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins, July 1, 2013 and ends June 30, 2014, is $10.54 per $1,000 of taxable value.  City administrator Scott Flory noted that in fiscal year 2012 the city’s tax rate increased from $10.04 to $10.54 per $1,000 of taxable valuation due to voter approval of a $2.3 million dollar general obligation bond to fund the construction and equipping of a new fire station. Prior to 2012 the tax rate had remained at $10.04 for five consecutive fiscal years.   “So, if not for the bond issue voters approved for the fire station we would be at the same tax rate for eight years.”

Local leaders celebrated the fact that Clear Lake continues to feature one of the lowest tax rates in Iowa for cities with a population of greater than 5,000. Flory reported that the Iowa Constitution limits general obligation debt to no more than 5 percent of 100 percent of assessed value.  For the first time in its history, assessed values in Clear Lake have topped $800 million, making 5 percent roughly $40 million.  Clear Lake has a mere $5.5 million in general obligation bond debt, or 14 percent, said Flory.  The general school of thought is that communities using 60 to 70 percent of their assessed value are in ‘good’ position, he said.

“At 14 percent we have among the lowest level of indebtedness in Iowa and I would say in the country, as well,” added Flory.

The proposed fiscal year 2014 budget reflects total expenditures among the various programs of roughly $15 million; of which, $6.9 million is directed towards operations, $1.1 million to debt service; and $7 million to capital.  Major capital improvements in the budget include a new water tower at $2.4 million, approximately $1 million of renovations at City Hall, work on North Shore Drive estimated at $2.3 million, and more than $700,000 in various street and sidewalk repairs.


Hearing set for cemetery expansion

In other business Monday, the Council set March 18 as the date for a public hearing concerning site work to begin for the expansion of the Clear Lake Cemetery.  

One of the major capital improvement projects budgeted for in fiscal year 2013 was the site grading of the area designated for future expansion of the cemetery. The site is approximately five acres located across North 20th Street from the existing cemetery.  Over the years the City has accumulated approximately 11,000 cubic yards of excavated fill material, which has been stock piled on­site. This was done in anticipation of the need to increase the elevation of the property for future development and expansion of the City’s municipal cemetery. 

The City has budgeted $90,000 for the project, based on the engineer’s estimate of $86,250. Bid letting on the project will be March 13.  The anticipated date to commence construction is in early­ April and the completion date is June 7.


Contract awarded for Highway 18 water main work

The Council also approved the low bid of North Iowa Septic Solutions for a Highway 18 water main improvement project.  

The project entails the replacement of an existing four-inch water main located under a portion of US Highway 18.  Construction includes the placement of 2,500 linear feet of new 12-inch diameter water main. 

Historically, the water main has been one of the more problematic - Read More Via e-Edition

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