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Council to discuss budget, arena Tuesday

This news story was published on January 30, 2012.
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by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – The Mason City City Council will meet again Tuesday evening to discuss final changes to the 2013 budget.  The budget will be voted on (CORRECTION) in the coming weeks after a public hearing is held.

In the budget is $60,000 to remodel the first floor of City Hall, which City Administrator Brent Trout now says “was brought about from discussions on multiple occasions with (former City Attorney) Tom Meyer regarding the need to bring the Human Resource Department together in the same office area. I began to look at the space on 1st floor because it is a little used space.”

Trout said in an email that the city council “asked a few questions” at a January 16th budget hearing “but they did not have any questions about the item at the January 24th meeting.”

The council seems poised to go forward with the project despite an admission from at-large Councilman Scott Tornquist that “the recovery hasn’t come full circle back to Mason City yet.” It has been made clear that taxes and fees are likely to go up in this budget, and Tornquist himself pointed out that many in Mason City are on fixed incomes.  Additionally, City Finance Director Kevin Jacobson said at the January 24th budget hearing that the city’s water fund is very poor shape.  There was no discussion of using the $60,000 toward the water fund instead of on the remodel.

The council will also hear a presentation about a possible multi-purpose center project that city staff has been researching.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall in the second floor conference room.

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28 Responses to Council to discuss budget, arena Tuesday

  1. Joe Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    On a related note… Who is pushing for this multipurpose center! and WHY??? It is totally unnecessary and the money is not there. It will just take away from other venues and raise my property taxes more and more. “STOP THE MADNESS NOW!” Also, a good point has been brought up about lowered property values and that our tax assessments should be lowered also.

  2. george Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Anon….That packet showed a 2 million dollar surplus in water/sewer revenue that will have a 4% increase to help pay for other projects? Is that right? What is the talk of problems with the water/sewer dept then? AM I missing something?

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    OMG!!!!! $16 k for a sign $60k for remodel. Really does the money grow on trees for our council? Oh no i forgot they are not using their money so who cares. Right? Budget for new center doubled without any reason. Seriously? Get a grip on this spending or this town will become a ghost town. Makes me sick

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    a home just sold in our neighborhood assessed value 269 sold at 252.

  5. Bender Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Assessed values SHOULD DROP roughly 30% this year as home values have DROPPED that much in the last 3 years. If they dont, start making calls and asking WHY NOT?

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      The assessed value should be the same as the market value. I challenge your assertion that housing values have dropped 30% in the past 3 years in Mason City. I know very few people who would sell their house for what it is assessed at. For the most part, the assessed value is less than what it would sell for. Do you have any statistical information to back up your claim?

  6. Randy Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Hey everyone why don’t you give Matt a break? He is a very hard worker and is trying to help us all out in a very profound way. He does not get this stuff spoon-fed to him from govt officials like other news sources. Do you think some of the officials are helping him out with understanding all of this stuff or are they hoping he will fail? Well it sounds like they have not been very helpful in supplying him with info so again just calm down and help him respectfully with this. Some of you are, it’s always the few who like to make things difficult in life.

  7. Please check your facts... Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

    The budget CANNOT be passed as early as Feb. 2. According to state law the budget must be published and a public hearing held. Council will call for that public hearing on Feb. 21, 2012 for the March 6, 2012 council meeting.

    There will be an opportunity to voice concerns at the
    March 6 meeting. However, take the time to discuss the budget with your council person before then, minds are generally made up by that point in the process.

    Matt, please check your facts before reporting. These are mistakes even a rooky shouldn’t make. You could easily have gotten this information from the finance director – I did.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Your point is taken. I was wrong about the Feb 2 date. It also makes sense that a public hearing WOULD be held prior to passing the budget, which is why I did not discount that in the story. Much of this information isn’t easy to get, perhaps that will change moving forward.

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 10:51 am

    How did this multipurpose center go from 11 to 13 million to 25 to 27 million.

  9. property tax Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 10:38 am

    2006 – 2011 net taxable valuation increase $1,950
    Tax increase 2006 – 2011 $1,394

    2006 school 40.986 % of tax
    2011 school 42.032

    2006 city 36.874 % of tax
    2011 city 37.733

    2006 county 19.191 % of tax
    2011 county 17.387
    More numbers to chew on.

  10. Larry Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Get used to it. It is a done deal Our city hall WILL be remodeled (even though we don’t need it or want it). We will get a new civic center (even though we don’t need it or want it). They will never let it come to a vote of the people as they know what the outcome will be. Also, they don’t care that they will put the ice rink at the struggling fair grounds out of business or take away from the YMCA. The have’s are in control and they could care less what us common people want or can pay for. You people brought it on your selves when you didn’t get off your butt and vote.

    • not fully true Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      They can build the new areana but that does not mea that the ice association is not required to use that facility why would they leave a place where they control there own facility to be told when they can have ice time.

  11. Guest Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Y’all are getting nicker-twisted over a city hall remodeling project because of its cost while ignoring that other item mentioned: the multipurpose center. The cost of that remodeling you’re all getting your collective shorts bunched over is going to be chump-change compared to the perpetual budget deficit that will be incurred by a multipurpose center. WAKE UP.

  12. Pat Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Property tax. One thing to remember your property tax increases are not all attributed to the city. The majority of the increases have come from the school system. NIT could you look at the increases that we have received from the school system in the last five years and give us a report on that also?

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2012 at 8:16 am

      The overall taxes you pay also change with your assessed value. Matt, can you tell us how assessed values have changed in Mason City over the last 10 years?

  13. property tax Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 7:21 am

    A quick view of what is happening to property tax in MC>
    My tax.
    2011 plus $204
    2010 plus $454
    2009 plus $126
    2008 plus $224
    2007 plus $004
    2006 plus $382
    2005 plus $216
    And no end in sight.

  14. carpet guy Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Where is Max when we really need him?

  15. comment Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Remember your taxes are already going up to pay for the 3.5 million street scape project. Also cover your backside the multipurpose center is about to be shoved up it. Recommended by a group hand picked by guess who. Sure their final instructions were say what I want or your out.
    Maybe that is where the new council room is Peter. Just add lights and odor eaters.

  16. Joe Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I stopped into city hall today to pay my ever higher water bill (now nearly $100 a month)and I looked around and everthing looked fine, very clean and tidy. I saw NO reason for any remodel. I mentioned this to the lady that took my money and she got quite defensive, telling that it WAS needed, as if it was already approved. I would like to see a balanced budget witout my property taxes increasing again. This is the type of expense we could easily cut out.

  17. Peter Children Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    On the other hand this 60K expenditure will be a test to se just who crawls up Bookmeyer’s ass to please him. There is certainly enough room in there for all of them. The only one who might vote no could be Lee, the rest are a given.

  18. Peter Children Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Its unthinkable that the council would approve a $60K expenditure to move desks in this economic climate.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      January 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      Well said Mr. Children. I have never run multi-million dollar fortune 500 companies like our Mayor, but I can tell you it doesn’t take a genious to see this $60K is a huge boondogle and should be put towards our water fund which is in big trouble. I wonder if any of our council members will step up and vote no on this? Are they really looking out for the taxpayers? What about the $16K for the MacNider sign?

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Ya’ll might want to take a closer look at the Capital Improvements Plan and then do a little reading about how it works. You can look at it here:
      Mr. Marquardt, I understand you weren’t at this meeting so might have missed it. Anything that isn’t included in fiscal year 2013 is not going to be funded this year. Anything listed in the other years is what departments MIGHT ask for. It is not uncommon for the CIP to function as a wish list. There is no funding for a sign for the museum for the upcoming year. The sign is simply on their wish list.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Always a pleasure to read a lecture from another anonymous blogger. You may be right I did miss one budget hearing. The other media missed plenty of them too. Your assertion that the MacNider sign is on some kind of “wish list” is pretty weak, considering at the next budget hearing on Jan. 24th, it was not discussed at all, no one brought up removing the item whatsoever. That would have been a great time to hash it out, considering Mr. Hickey picked out numerous other items to disect. We will see tonight (Jan. 31) how much of a wish list item the sign really is, stay tuned.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Yep, I’m anonymous and yep ALL the media has been missing meetings. The library sign is in the CIP for fiscal year 2014. The only things the Council is going to approve funding for are those expenditures in fiscal year 2013. There is no need to take the sign out because there is no funding in the budget this year. This years budget will not set spending for 2014. Next years budget will do that. Things come and go in the CIP all the time. This sign is not an issue for the budget they are discussing now because no money is going to be spent on it in that budget. There are lots of things they are spending money on. Focus on that.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2012 at 10:56 am

      Thank you anonymous for the solid, positive feedback. Looking closely at the budget packet I was given, you are correct, the sign is for 2014. We will focus on the 2013 budget items.