Same tax rate for 2023 city budget | News, Sports, Jobs

Jamestown’s tax rate is proposed to be unchanged from last year with a slight increase in tax levies proposed in Mayor Eddie Sundquist’s 2023 budget proposal.

The $38.68 million budget represents an increase of $19,000 over the 2022 budget and comes with a proposed tax rate of $23.69 per $1,000 of property assessment. It is proposed that the tax levy be increased from $16.16 million to $16.17 million. The budget also provides a 5% increase in sales tax revenue based on what Sundquist said is strong demand, online sales tax collections and federal stimulus funds that are creating an environment of robust consumer spending.

“As has been the case in every year of my administration, there will be no tax rate increase for residents of the City of Jamestown,” Sundquist said in his executive budget report. “All thanks to the settlement of collective agreements, conservative budgeting and new programs implemented by my team. The growth in the unrestricted fund balance, which now meets industry standards, has allowed the city to breathe. Over the coming year, I will be proposing a new fund balance policy, which will both ensure that we have adequate reserves in a rainy day fund, while also allowing us to spend the excess balance of funds from the necessary capital expenditures, without the need to finance the debt of these projects.

Sundquist is offering an additional building maintenance mechanic in the budget to help maintain the history of city buildings, an assistant director of public works to help oversee ongoing infrastructure projects, and a new parks assistant to overseeing park improvements including the JTNY Powerhouse Skate Park, Riverwalk Bike Path, and the possible addition of two wading pools to city parks.

Having nearly $9 million in unspent stimulus money has taken some of the pressure off the 2023 budget, but the city is in better financial shape due to two unstimulated developments. The city saw more than 170 employees sign up for the new Medicare Advantage plan, with none of the employees who switched from city retiree health to Medicare choosing to go back. The change has saved the city $1.61 million over the past year, while retirees will see no change to base premiums for a second straight year.

The city also experiences a larger increase in its taxable assessment, which helps maintain the same tax rate while the tax levy increases. The tax base is expected to increase by 6% in 2023, supporting growth of 4% in 2022, 1.9% in 2020 and 0.6% in 2019.

“However, we are not without challenges. The city still faces more than $160 million in unfunded health care and retirement costs for retirees,” Sundquist wrote in his executive budget statement. “National inflation is raging, affecting the finances of the city and its people. Now more than ever, we need to use this time to revamp city government and find cost savings where possible, using federal stimulus funds as a boost for economic development and growth.

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