Mason City council schedules new “Truth in Taxation” budget hearing for late March

MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City on Tuesday night set the so-called “Truth in Taxation” hearing for the Fiscal Year 2025 budget. State lawmakers last year eliminated the “Max Levy” hearing that had been a part of the process for the last several years and replaced it with the new hearing.

Councilman Paul Adams says the “Truth in Taxation” hearing must be a separate meeting outside the council’s normal schedule.  “It can’t be part of our regular council meetings, it has to be a separate meeting where we basically open the meeting, open the public hearing, we’re required to sit there for a few minutes and then close the public hearing, close the meeting and give people a chance to talk if they’d like to. That’s really all that we have to do based on that new law.”

The county auditor’s office will be sending out disclosures to Mason City residents on what last year’s levy looked like and what it’s going to be for the next fiscal year going forward, but Adams says those letters probably don’t tell the whole story about the budgeting process.  “I know our staff wasn’t crazy about those letters because it’s not completely transparent on what happens with property valuations. It just basically lists the tax levy from last year and what it’s going to look like for the next fiscal year, and it says taxes are going to drop by ‘x’ amount. Well, we know valuations went up, so we’ll be a little bit more forthright in the budget materials we produce on what it actually looks like.”

Adams says the levy for the Fiscal Year ‘25 budget will slightly decrease. “The tax levy is going to go down I think about a penny, so basically staying flat with a slight decrease for our budget starting July 1st.”

That “Truth in Taxation” hearing will take place on Tuesday March 26th at 7 o’clock in the Mason City Room of the Public Library. The final budget hearing is scheduled for the council’s April 16th meeting.

Adams made his comments on the “Ask the Mayor” program earlier today on KGLO. Listen back to the full program and/or download it by heading to the audio player below.