After a number of work sessions devoted to discussing and planning the 2022-23 budget for the City of Gothenburg, public hearings were held Sept. 12 and Sept. 13 to present the budget and final tax request. No one was present at either of those meetings to ask any questions or voice any objections to the proposed budget and tax request.
City Administrator Gary Greer presented the budget to the council for approval during the Sept. 13 special meeting. Greer said this year’s budget has been prepared with the objectives of maintaining the financial strength of the City, meeting the needs of citizens, and implementing the priorities of the City Council.
“We all know 2022 has been a challenging year as we have been dealing with runaway inflation, supply chain issues, housing growth and a great deal of activity in economic development. City administration has been attempting to complete more with less to keep up with the demands of the citizens,” Greer stated. “Many capital improvement projects were accomplished in 2021-22 which have placed the city in great shape for the upcoming years and have placed the departments on schedule concerning equipment.”
The 2022-23 proposed budget emphasizes investment in some key areas that will continue to improve the quality of life for Gothenburg citizens. Greer said that some of the areas the budget will provide programs and financial support for include: infrastructure repair, economic development, park improvements, increased efficiency and effectiveness in city departments and increased public safety and code enforcement.
“The proposed budget was designed to follow the vision of the Mayor and City Council, respond to citizen needs and put the city employees in a position to serve the community in an appropriate manner,” said Greer. “Expenditures have been planned that balance prudent investment of city resources while taking advantage of programs that will bring about a significant return on investment for the future.”
Greer pointed to several key projects included in the budget to build on the community’s assets. These projects include:
· Street maintenance
· Swimming pool maintenance
· Entryway Park project
· Playground equipment replacement – Lake Helen, EG West
· Splash Pad construction – EG West
· Replacement of Service Center HVAC system
· Electric system upgrade/Pole replacement
· South lift station renovation
The council voted unanimously at the Sept. 13 meeting to adopt the proposed 2022-23 budget as presented:
General Fund $ 5,404,705
Enterprise Funds $ 10,032,666
Special Revenue Funds $ 2,890,397
Greer said that because of a law the Legislature passed last year, the City has to appear for a special county meeting to approve the tax levy. “Property tax only accounts for 14% of our budget,” said Greer. “We are increasing the property tax rate this year and there are three reasons why - inflation, because it costs us more for everything; we added two new safety positions, a new police officer and the Community Services Officer; and community betterment.”
The levy will be going from .3434 cents per hundred to .3737 cents per hundred. Greer explained that means on a $100,000 valuation it will be $30.30 per year. “I filled up my truck yesterday, and it cost me $40 more to do that than it did at this time last year. So we are all feeling it. We did our best to get more for less, but with those two new positions it made us need more property taxes,” he said.
The county meeting will be held in Lexington on Sept. 28. All Gothenburg residents should have received a postcard in the mail outlining that information. Following that meeting the City Council will have to hold a special meeting to give final approval for the levy, and all paperwork must be submitted to the state by Sept. 30.