OSKALOOSA – Beginning July 1, due to an increase in tax rates, or levies, some Oskaloosa property owners could expect to see an increase in their property taxes for Fiscal Year 2021.
The increase in the city’s tax rate budget is due to increases in property insurance, city employee benefits, police/ fire operations, the upkeep of parks, pools, the library and other city managed properties.
According to City Manager Michael Schrock, levies, or rates, that weren’t included in the breakdown are the debt service levy and the band/music group levy.
“Parks, pool, police, fire, library, those are what these taxes are used for,” he said. “It pays for the benefits of the employees that provide these services too, and it also pays for a property insurance.”
It’s important to note that while council is saying the proposed budget exceeds 102 percent, which translates to a 2.31 percent increase, this does not mean that each resident’s individual tax bill will increase by that amount. How the increase will affect the dollar value for each property owner will still vary based on the value of their property.
All agree that it gets pretty confusing and they way things have to be worded doesn’t help, but Oskaloosa Mayor David Krutzfeldt explained it best saying that “it’s the whole budget that is 2.31 percent higher than last year.”
No one from the community attend the public hearing to speak out for or against the proposed tax levy. The council unanimously passed the proposed property tax levy during the council meeting Tuesday night.
Oskaloosa City Council will hold public hearings for Fiscal Year 2021 on March 2. At a previous council meeting held on January 21, Councilman Tom Walling urged the public to look into the budget and voice their opinions.
“I’m just urging the public. I’ll be a good time to pay attention, if you’re interested, before we pass it all,” he said. “I think it’s a good budget, it’s a budget we have to do, but if you’re interested, now is the time to look at it and comment.”
Curb and Gutter Replacement Project
Sixth Street will soon be under construction, getting its curb and gutter replaced. While residents on the street had no opposition to the work being done, they are, however, unhappy about not having a paved road to drive on.
Approximately four to five tax paying residents from the street showed up for the hearing Tuesday night demanding answers on when the road would be paved.
Unfortunately, the answer they received was not what they were looking for. Public Works Director Akhilesh Pal said because of the budget and the low volume of traffic on the road, at this time there are no plans to have the pavement resurfaced.
TK Concrete, Inc. was awarded the contract for Phase One of the 6th Street Curb and Gutter Replacement Project.
Update on the Facade Project
Phase II of the Downtown Facade Project is coming great, according to Area15 Regional Planning Commission Grant Consultant Brad Grefe. At this time, there are two buildings with over 75 percent complete, one building is over 40 percent complete and the remaining three are 25 percent complete.
Construction on the Phase II of the Downtown Facade Project began August of 2019 and is expected to be completed July 2020