Douglas Not Increasing Tax Levy, Councilwoman Greenwood Says
At its Monday meeting, Douglas City Council held a public hearing on its proposed fiscal year 2016-17 budget, with expected revenues and expenditures equaling $3 million.
Wanting to clear any misunderstanding for constituents, Douglas City Council Member Lisa Greenwood noted, “We are not increasing the tax levy. It will remain the same since 2005 (at 13.0818 mills). It’s just that we are required by law to have a public notice about the budget.”
The public communication for the budget hearing includes a notice that the property tax millage rate to be proposed is being levied to support the proposed budget.
“As a city, he have kept our tax rate in sync with the good and the bad without having a negative impact. We are trying to facilitate and do what is best for our tax rate,” Douglas City Treasurer Robert Drexler told council.
The projected $3 million budget constitutes a more than $200,000 general fund increase from last year.
“There are two main factors for that: the city’s tax revenue is up $80,000 from last year and the city will be receiving an additional $130,000 from Saugatuck City for their portion of the police pension payment we are going to make,” said Drexler.
That additional money towards the unfunded portion of the police pension expenses (MERS) accounts for $260,000 of the budget expenses, which Drexler says will be saving the city, in the long run, $25,000 annually.
Other items the city is budgeting for includes anticipated Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority projects, Beery Field improvements, and $26,000 for an initial public marina study.
The city is also budgeting for various 2016 road improvement projects totaling an estimated $110,000, mostly for mill and overlay work on portions of Chestnut, Water and Center streets.
The next leg of the Beach to Bayou Trail is expected to be completed as well, as the Allegan County Drain Commission finishes the Warnock Drain along Center Street. The drain passes beneath Center Street onto the West Shore Golf Course property, a project that officials say grants the city an opportunity to reduce some of the construction and grading costs.
Following that project, the city will next be looking to finish the portion of the Blue Star Trail that runs along the Blue Star Highway, noted Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere.