Claremont approves budget, levy for 2016
The Claremont City Council last week approved a 2016 tax levy amount of $383,458, a four percent increase over 2015. The council also approved the 2016 budget of $1,120,638.00.
There was little comment from the public on either the budget or the levy although two residents did question if the levy could not be kept below four percent.
The biggest expense in the budget, said Mayor Daniel Martinez, is sewer and water. If the levy were not increased, he said, sewer and water rates would have to be increased. He also said that the city has doubled the number of hours of protection from the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and that is also an added expense. The increase in hours, he said, is because that is what residents said they wanted.
Martinez also said that other cities in Dodge County, including Kasson and Mantorville, are looking at double digit increases in their levies.
“We’re listening to our community,” said Councilmember Michelle Welch in regard to the increase in law enforcement protection.
The council also discussed the 2016 contract with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and approved the contract although it was without one change requested by Sheriff Scott Rose.
City Attorney Mark Rahrick said that after discussions with Rose two changes were made to the contract.
The 2015 contract says the city receives reports on calls that were made but not the times the deputies are patrolling in the city. The revision says the Sheriff’s Office will send a summary of the days and times the deputies are actually patrolling.
The second change, at Rose’s request, changes language in the contract to make it the same contract language in all contracts between the office and Dodge County communities. Council members questioned why the language had to be the same in all contracts as each contract is between the Sheriff’s Office and a particular city.
Council members voted to approve the contract but not make the language change Rose requested.
The contract doubles the amount of coverage the city will receive going from two hours a day to four hours a day. Cost for the 2016 coverage is $4,980.73 per month.
The city also approved a contract for professional services with the Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA). The city will get eight hours of service each week at an annual cost of $23,984.
Also approved was an amendment to the tax abatement agreement with CHS. The agreement originally had work beginning this year with the project substantially completed by Dec. 31, 2016. Under the amended agreement construction will start by Aug. 1, 2016 with substantial completion by Dec. 31, 2017.