Clear Lake City Council holds budget hearing

CLEAR LAKE — The Clear Lake City Council last night held its “Truth in Taxation” preliminary hearing for the city’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget and then set the date to adopt the budget plan. The city’s tax levy will be increasing slightly from $9.65 to $9.85 per $1000 assessed valuation.

City administrator Scott Flory says the adjustment in the residential rollback rate is the biggest in recent history.  “The residential rollback for Fiscal Year 2025 is set at 46.34%, which is a reduction from the 54.65%. That is the single largest reduction in the residential rollback in the history of the state. A big reduction. It would take your property increasing at least 15% in value to offset that decrease in the rollback.”

Flory says the constitutional debt limit for Fiscal Year 2025 is about $84.7 million, and the city will have used only less than 5% of that total, one of the lowest percentages in the state.  “As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, the gold standard is to be at that 70-75% not exceeding. We’re not even at 5%. So as I say all the time, we are not only likely the lowest indebted city in this state, maybe one of the lowest indebted in the country, so not much debt for an organization our size.”

City finance director Jacob Widman says total expenditures in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget are about $25.9 million, higher than the $23.4 million for the current fiscal year.  “$11.9 million is operations, $13.1 million is toward capital items, then around $900,000 towards debt. So that larger budget figure reflects the big  projects that we have going on, namely the Surf District project and the Destination Iowa grant we got for that. That really has caused the budget to increase.”

The council set their April 15th meeting for the final budget hearing and to adopt the budget.