BEATRICE – The Beatrice City Council approved the second-year budget plan for the city’s current biennium, following a public hearing Tuesday night.
The city budget for 2018-2019 totals about $47.45 million, with a property tax request of just under $2.63 million. The coming year’s tax rate of the city will go up about 1.7 cents, to nearly 39.92 cents per hundred dollars of property valuation
One citizen speaking at the hearing, Wayne Bruns, felt now is the wrong time for an increase in the property tax, given challenges faced by the county with the Beatrice Six judgment. He favored making budget adjustments to avoid the need for a tax rate increase. The small increase in tax rate, city officials say, was needed to fund a bond issue and to account for a decline in municipal aid from the State of Nebraska.
The new budget does not include any increases in utility rates for electric, water and sewer service, for the coming year.
The City of Beatrice has approved an agreement with a consultant to help provide information to the public about this November’s ballot issue vote for an additional half-cent sales tax.
J-E-O will help provide information to the public on the tax, which if approved, would provide revenue to finance a bond issue for a new Beatrice Fire Headquarters. City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says the company is also working under an architectural agreement with the city on the project, but the public awareness agreement would be handled by a separate division of the consulting firm.
The council voted 5-1, approving spending no more than $9,000 on the information campaign, which would include public meetings, fact sheets, displays, and working with firefighters on information relating to the ballot issue.
The city council and mayor are tentatively scheduled to receive an architectural report on the project in a couple of weeks.