Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
FAIRFIELD – The Fairfield City Council is proposing to raise its general property tax levy 4 cents to $15.67 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
The overall budget will rise 2.3 percent. The council has set the public hearing for its budget for its first meeting in March, on March 8.
Fairfield City Administrator Aaron Kooiker said half of the increase reflects the rising 'cost of doing business.” He mentioned that health care costs rose 10 percent, one of the biggest drivers of the increase.
Kooiker said the other half of the increase comes from $8,000 the city will give the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center from its general fund for infrastructure expenses. The Ways and Means Committee decided to give $50,000 from the city's local option sales tax fund to the arts center, also for building upkeep.
The city and arts center had been in negotiations about renegotiating the arts center's lease, which stated that the arts center would be in charge of infrastructure costs. Kooiker said the two sides agreed that the city would help the arts center pay for some of its infrastructure costs this year but leaving the wording of the lease unchanged.
Kooiker said a few other noteworthy changes in the budget are a couple of new employees. The wastewater department is adding an employee because the new treatment facility is so big it needs another person to help run it. The police department is adding an employee, another patrol officer, bringing its workforce to 15 officers.