There were no comments during the city of Decorah’s annual budget hearing Monday night.

The Decorah City Council unanimously approved the fiscal 2015 budget that raises the property tax rate 10 percent to cover debt payments for two major projects - the extension of water and sewer service along Highway 9 to the Decorah Business Park on the east edge of the city and the purchase of a new firetruck. It’s the first time in five years the rate has increased.

The levy is up $1.25 per $1,000 of taxable value for a total tax rate of $13.79 per $1,000. The current property tax rate is $12.54 per $1,000 of taxable value. 

Revenues are projected at $13,701,354 under the 2015 budget, while total expenses are estimated at $13,732,321. City Manager Chad Bird said the difference between projected expenses and revenues is due to use of fund balances, grants, capital funds or a split in fiscal year for projects. 

He commended City Clerk Wanda Hemesath and department heads for their work on the budget.
“I feel the staff has done a very good job at keeping things reasonable … most of the departments have not seen a significant increase in their budgets, not withstanding wages, cost of living, fuel, etcetera. Their budgets are very responsible,” Bird said.

Council member Paul Wanless said the budget sets a limit of what they city can spend. 

“We don’t have to spend everything in it. We can’t spend any more than is in it,” he said.

Council member Tade Kerndt said although there was not much discussion about the budget Monday night, the Council has spent several meetings and considerable time reviewing it.