Sioux City looks to have higher property taxes and less police and fire positions next fiscal year. This after the city council finished operating budget talks in their wrap up session, Tuesday.
If the city council's revised operating budget is approved next week, the city's share of property tax rates will jump up 1.6% in fiscal year 2014. That's an additional $45 for the average homeowner, when factoring in the state rollback.
The tax rate was first proposed to only jump 1.3% next year. It's gone higher because the council didn't cut enough to overcome the cost of keeping more police positions than first planned. It's a balancing act of higher taxes vs. public safety.
"This is the way to do it with the least impact upon citizens. Keeping in mind, there are people out here in our community that are struggling paying their property taxes," said Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott.
The Sioux City Police Department was originally pressed to lose the three spots that make up their Street Level Drug Unit through attrition. Instead, the council voted to keep the unit and lose one sergeant's spot from another part of the force.
"I'm thrilled that we'll be able to keep the Street Level Drug Unit. Allows the uniformed officer to spend more time in the neighborhoods where he should be at," said Police Chief Doug Young.
Also in talks Tuesday, Council Member Rhonda Capron made a motion to save the fire department's public education officer from attrition. The motion failed though, one to four. Fire officials say they'll have to analyze their staffing and figure out how to work without the spot.
"Review all job descriptions and how we spend our time. See if we can absorb as much of these duties as we possibly can," said Fire Chief Tom Everett.
The city council will vote to approve both the operating budget and capital improvement budget at their meeting Monday night. If approved, the 2014 budget will take effect July 1st of this year.
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