Plum plans to reduce reserves, not raise property tax in 2023

Plum is not raising property taxes, but would reduce its reserves by about 42% in the proposed 2023 budget.

The entire proposed budget for all city funds is about $23 million, Chief Financial Officer Michael Whitico said. That’s an increase of $3.42 million – or about 17.5% – from this year.

The county property tax rate would remain at 4.78 mills. It was last raised by 1 million in 2017, Whitico said. A power plant generates about $1.6 million in tax revenue in Plum.

The municipality would use $2.9 million from the balance of its fund, which Whitico says has about $6.9 million.

County manager Michael Thomas said he is not budget-conscious to use up so much of the fund’s balance. Following state guidelines, he said the county is well above the recommended $700,000 to $1.15 million.

“These were taxes that were already collected from residents,” he said. “We have a dedicated fund balance for specific things, for emergencies if we need it. We have plenty of funds left to take care of any emergencies or catastrophes that happen.”

Thomas said the budget is the worst case scenario, and the actual amount spent from the fund balance may be less.

Rainwater rate may increase

While there is no proposed increase in property taxes, the county is considering increasing the stormwater management fee, which has been $5 per month per household since inception.

Thomas said the board will discuss the rate hike at its Dec. 5 working session. Although the board will vote on the budget when it meets on Dec. 14, the earliest the rate could be raised would be in January, he said.

The county expects increases of 5% in health care and workers’ compensation costs, 4% in fuel costs and 3% in insurance.

Added Positions

New job titles that would be added include administrative assistant, janitor, engineer, information technology support staff, and director and public works worker.

At the police station, three retirements and two new hires are expected, Whitico said.

The county’s general fund has a deficit of nearly $500,000, spending $15.4 million on receipts of $14.9 million.

About 80% of the municipality’s revenue comes from property and income taxes and sanitation fees.

General fund income is expected to increase by $835,000, or 6%, over this year’s budget.

Property tax revenue is forecast to increase 10.5% to $5.11 million due to new housing in the neighborhood and additional property taxes being allocated to the general fund, Whitico said.

More than 74% of spending is for three departments: public safety and police, 37%; public works, 22%; and sanitation, 15%.

General fund spending is increasing by $1.23 million, or 8.7%.

Public safety is the neighborhood’s biggest department, Whitico said. Spending there is about $5.8 million, virtually unchanged from this year.

In public works, the administration’s budget increased by $200,000, or 38%, primarily because of the creation of a director scheduled to be hired on March 1 and an engineer to be hired on April 1. because of a new worker starting July 1st and a $30,000 increase in health insurance.

Public works maintenance increased 22.5%, or $104,000, primarily due to increased fuel and vehicle parts and equipment costs.

Budget for winter care products increased by $75,000, mostly for salt; Road salt should cost $356,000.

The recreation department, which includes maintenance of all district parks, increased 13%, or $60,000, primarily due to the allocation of additional public works staff to it.

Sanitation costs are increasing by about 9%, or $183,000, due to a contract increase.

The administration budget increased by $1.47 million, or 15.4%. This includes a $114,000 salary increase for a new administrative assistant and a human resources hire this year.

The IT department increased 27%, or $65,000, primarily due to the hiring of a support person.

The neighborhood started moving into its new building this month. Its budget has increased by $187,000, or 44%, due to an increase in janitorial staff from one part-time to two full-time employees and an expected $50,000 increase in utilities.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. You can reach Brian by email at [email protected] or via Twitter 🇧🇷

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