Six public hearings, action items to take up majority of Council’s Thursday agenda

(City of Muscatine)

MUSCATINE, Iowa – A series of public hearings will be scheduled over the next two months as budget season winds down for the City of Muscatine and municipalities across the State of Iowa. First up is setting a public hearing on the Property Tax Levy for the Fiscal Year 2024/2025 Budget and Taxpayer Statements.

The setting of the date for the public hearing is just one of 20 action items that the Muscatine City Council will consider during its regular meeting on Thursday, March 7. The Council will also conduct seven public hearings during the meeting that starts at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers at Muscatine City Hall. 

The first two public hearings Thursday are in regards to two construction projects that will begin later this year including the Airport Lighting Project and Phase 6C of the West Hill Sanitary and Storm Sewer Separation Project. The other four hearings are in regards to the May 2024 Bond Issue. Resolutions to move forward with these projects and the Bond Issue will be considered later in the meeting.

Numerous changes to local budget preparation, public hearing requirements, and budget timelines were made after House File 718 was adopted in 2023. Among those changes is a requirement that county offices mail each property taxpayer an annual statement. All political subdivisions, including cities, must file a report with the Iowa Department of Management (DOM) by March 15 that contains the required information for the taxpayer statement. That information is compiled and calculated by DOM and then used by the county auditor to prepare the taxpayer statements that must be sent by March 20.

The public hearing on the Property Tax Levy and Taxpayer Statements is the first of two that must be held prior to final approval of the budget. The second public hearing is on the budget itself. The first public hearing is tentatively scheduled for April 4, pending Council approval, with the second public hearing on April 18. However, the second public hearing cannot be set until after the first public hearing is held and a resolution is passed to set the Property Tax Levy.

The Muscatine City Council recently completed their review of the proposed city budget for the upcoming year, with the property tax rate for 2024-2025 proposed at $15.67219 per $1,000 of taxable property valuation. That is the same rate as the current fiscal year (2023-2024). However, while the rate remains the same, property owners may see a decrease in the City of Muscatine’s part of their property taxes due to the residential property rollback mandated by the State along with other reductions to the assessed value of a property.

Bonds are issued by state and local governments to help pay for large, expensive, and long-lived capital projects. The City’s next bond issue, scheduled for May 2024, is estimated at $4.8 million and will provide funding for a number of projects. The bond issuance and projects were reviewed by the City Council during their budget sessions.

The projects classified as Essential Corporate Purposes include (1) the Weed Park Lagoon-Bank Stabilization project, (2) the local share of four Airport Improvement projects, (3) acquiring a new fire engine, (4) acquiring a new ambulance, (5) undertaking nuisance abatement and demolition projects, and (6) constructing and equipping replacement training facilities for the Police department.

The projects classified as General Corporate Purpose projects include (1) installing new fuel tanks and pumps at the Public Works facility, (2) the local share of the costs to construct and equip a new indoor sports dome, (3) completion of the irrigation system on Soccer Fields #1 – #6, (4) constructing repairs and improvements to municipal buildings, and (5) the local share of the cost to construct a vehicle wash-bay at the Public Works facility.

After the public hearings, the City Council will consider approving the resolution authorizing and combining the loan agreements, approving the future issuance of General Obligation Corporate Purpose Bonds, and providing for the levy of taxes to pay the bonds. It should be noted that even with adding this bond issue, the City was able to reduce the debit service tax levy from $2.04192 per $1,000 of valuation to $1.98512 per $1,000.

The City Council will also be asked to:

  • Award a contract to Heuer Construction for the Grandview Avenue Sidewalk Extension Project;
  • Approve supporting a submission to the office of the Honorable Congresswoman Miller-Meeks for $2,923,549.00 in Congressionally Direct Spending Funds for the mandated Redundant Force Main Project;
  • Discuss the sale of City-owned lots on Brook Street per a request from Councilmember Jindrich;
  • Approve two purchase orders for emergency roof replacements on two buildings at the Water Pollution Control Plant; and
  • Approve the bargaining agreement between the City of Muscatine and Chauffeurs, Teamsters, and Helpers Local 238 covering the Police Bargaining Unit.

The Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. and the public is welcomed, and encouraged, to attend the session in person.

Several options are available for those who cannot attend in person but would like to watch the proceedings. The City Council meeting will be broadcast live on the City of Muscatine YouTube channel and on Civic-TV (Muscatine Power & Water Cable Channel 2). A virtual option is also available for those who want to watch the proceedings on their desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Information on joining the virtual session is listed below.

Information on the other agenda items can be found by clicking AGENDA to download a PDF version of the City Council agenda and/or attachments. 

Muscatine City Council Meeting | Thursday, March 7, 2024

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM (CDT)

Join the virtual Zoom meeting from your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone by clicking the following link: Muscatine City Council Meeting.

Meeting ID: 825 5169 1259

Passcode: 927879

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