If Hillsboro City Council grants all the wishes of city departments, city property taxes would increase about 23 percent in 2013.
“We know it’s not going to be that way,” City Administrator Larry Paine said after the council’s July 3 meeting. “It will come down. The question at this point is how far it will come down.”
The city mill levy in 2012 is approximately 39 mills — or $449 on a $100,000 home. If the council granted all of the budget requests, the mill levy for 2013 would need to be 48 mills — $552 on a $100,000 home.
Several items contribute to the increased requests, notably equipment and material. The Street Department seems to run out of material before it runs out of projects every year, Paine said.
The requests also include pay and benefit increases for city employees.
One large line item is a fund for replacement of fire trucks. Most of the city’s trucks are 20 years old, and the lifespan of a fire truck is usually 25 to 30 years. The council wants to build a fund so when it is time to replace trucks, money is available.
Also, Paine was surprised that the city’s assessed valuation declined by 2.6 percent over the course of the year, which would require a higher tax rate to generate the same revenue.
Total department requests are $738,000. One mill of property taxes generates $15,358 for the city.
The city’s proposed budget will be published in the Hillsboro Star-Journal. Paine estimates it will be in the Aug. 1 newspaper. The city’s budget hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. Aug. 13.
The next council meeting will be 4 p.m. July 24.