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Porterdale mill rate drops
but revenues collected remain same
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The Porterdale City Council will, once again, discuss the upcoming $196,700 budget during its next meeting.

The second hearing for the proposed 2015 city budget will begin on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Porterdale’s City Hall on Main Street. The proposed budget is up slightly more than $8,000 from the $188,291 budget in 2014.

“We keep costs low,” said City Manager Bob Thomson. “We have pretty good management. We’re always pretty close in terms of balancing expenses and revenues.

“It would be nice to have a larger reserve, and we don’t. We haven’t had one since I’ve been here [13 years ago].”
Because housing values have been increasing, Thomson said, the tax rate has been rolled-back to 17.91 per $1,000 of the assessed price of a house. Last year, the tax rate was 19.392, but because property values were lower, the amount of revenue collected will remain approximately the same in 2015. For example, the tax rate on a house valued at $100,000 would be $1,791.

In the first six months of 2014, the city spent $122, 253, $66,000 below the estimated 2014 budget total. That amount, Thomson said, includes some premiums for insurance that have been paid for the year and “one time expenditures that were incurred before June that won’t be an expense again, like professional services, most of which were for projects for which all the engineering has been done. Some of the engineering expenses will be reimbursed by DNR grant funds, as well. We will also slow down expenditures on general supplies and materials.”

The two most significant increases to next year’s proposed budget could be laid on rises in group insurance, dues and fees and electricity costs. In other areas, such as office expenses, technical support, food and gasoline, there were significant decreases.

The largest portion of the budget pays employees’ salaries and benefits and represents a less than 2 percent increase from $98,141 to $99,200.

Thomson said, “We don’t give raises because we have to pinch pennies. We have pretty decent starting salaries.”
Purchases and contracted services increased from $64,050 to $67,500, around 5 percent. And due to an anticipated 100 percent increase in electricity costs, the proposed budget for supplies went up approximately 26 percent, from $1,100 to $1,500.

The 2015 budget will place $15,000 into a contingency fund.