Sheldon, Iowa — There has been substantial growth in Sheldon over the past few years, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the city’s taxable valuation. This, in turn, makes it possible for the city to pay down debt and make plans for future growth.
At their budget meeting Wednesday morning the Sheldon City Council saw a budget proposal that would result in a slight property tax levy increase of nineteen cents per thousand. This will cover the cost of adding a fulltime person to the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team as well as paying ambulance volunteers a dollar per hour while on stand-by.
The budget also plans for paying off one capital loan note, reducing the city’s debt by a little more than two million dollars. The interest on this note was three percent, much higher than recent notes which carry an average interest rate of between one and two percent. After this note is paid, the city will have a total available bonding capacity of nearly 9.8 million dollars. However, the Council has always worked to keep 25 percent of that in reserve, which would make the available bonding capacity at about 7.3 million dollars.
The budget also calls for a three percent increase in water and sewer rates. The waste water treatment plant must be upgraded to meet new government regulations. The City is also moving ahead with plans for a second water tower. This project would tie the new tower into the current system for a more dependable water service throughout the city including the new development areas. The new budget would include the cost of design and other initial work. The actual tower construction would probably be done in the following year.
Another major expense in this budget is for the construction of the southern half of the road in the new industrial park. This would provide access to about six more lots for new businesses. This would include a turn-around for trucks at the end of the street.
The Council also discussed the hotel/motel tax, which in the past has been turned over to the marketing committee who has supported such projects as Celebration Days, RiseFest, highway signs and other community projects. The voters recently approved an increase in this tax. The Council will probably want to keep control of this increase and perhaps more of the proceeds in the future. The City is also considering franchise fees as another income source. HTC Communications already collects a franchise fee for the City. Mid-American Energy who supplies electrical and gas services to Sheldon does not have a franchise with the City, but City Manager Scott Wynja says Mid-American Energy has been contacted about this and it will come up for council discussion soon.
At their budget session the Council also acted on several special requests for funds. After some discussion they approved ten thousand dollars for the golf course. Upper Des Moines Opportunity will receive $3,300, and Mid Sioux Opportunity $250.
This budget, which is for the fiscal year beginning July 1st, 2016, will be brought up to the Council for a public hearing and final vote at a later date.