The Rockford City Council conducted a Truth in Taxation Hearing at its Dec. 11 meeting, explained the proposed 2013 levy and adopted a General Budget Fund for the same year.
In 2012, the city’s total budget was $1,723,972. The amount approved for 2012 is $1,833,646. This represents an increase of $109,674, or approximately 6%. Some of the increases for next year includes the addition of fire call pay for department members estimated at about $33,000, increased heating and electrical costs, increased professional fees, and proposed increases in wages and benefits for city employees.
The largest percent of the future expenditures are budgeted accordingly: safety (police, fire and building inspections), $480.725; streets department, $430.744; administration-city hall, $422,219. Capital improvement funds for future improvements are included in these, and other, fund amounts for 2013.
The property tax levy proposed by 2013 is expected to rise only 1%, from $1,429,718 in 2012, to $1,444,919 in 2013. The Local Government Aid (LGA) for Rockford increases in 2013 by $167,066, contributing to the city’s revenue. Projections are also indicating less property tax delinquencies in 2013.
The city’s engineer, Mark Statz and associate Ron Lafond, both of Stanec, discussed options for meeting new phosphorus limits required in 2015 by the MPCA, options for bio-solids disposal and the feasibility of converting chlorine to ultraviolet UV disinfection.
The plans and specifications for phosphorus limits must be submitted by December 2013 to the PCA. It was noted that phosphorus removal could be done chemically or biologically. The estimated cost for a building and the equipment needed for this option is $247,000.
The engineers also noted that there is not adequate storage for the city’s bio-solids and recommended a using a combination of land application (currently in Rockford Township) and hauling to Buffalo $50,000 or another location with the equipment in place to dry/dispose of the bio-solids.
Additional improvements the wastewater facility will need include replacing a buried water line, $25,000, a grit pump and classifier/washers and a sludge pump, clarifier weirs, buried piping leaks, blower and enclosure replacement, aeration extension and building improvements. The cost of the total project is estimated to be 1,160,000. Grants dollars are available that may defray 50% of the project’s cost.
The council called for a public hearing to receive public input on the Wastewater Treatment Facility Plan for Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. during the regularly scheduled council meting.
The next regular meeting of the Rockford City Council is Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Rockford City Hall, 6031 Main St.