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Preliminary levy increase for Worthington is 17.08%

The Worthington City Council on Monday unanimously approved resolutions pertaining to the proposed 2021 tax levies collectible in 2022

The amount breaks down into an operating levy of $4,764,787 and special tax levies of $1,150,544. The proposed levy represents a 17.08% increase over 2021. The proposed levy is an amount not to exceed and may be lowered, but not raised for the final levy certification in December.

Council members also unanimously passed a resolution approving the Housing and Redevelopment Authority's 2022 proposed levy of $145,000, an increase of $2,000 over 2021.

Mayor Mike Kuhle noted that a significant amount of money is going to roads, reiterating that the figure council approved is a maximum amount. City Administrator Steve Robinson noted that about 6.5 percent of the pre-certified increase is designated toward the funding of new city amenities, and that the city is still waiting on final numbers on items such as health insurance costs.

The council will host a meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 in the City Hall Council Chambers to discuss the final 2022 budget and levy. A truth-in-taxation hearing will take place at this time, where public input will be taken prior to adoption.

In another matter Monday, the council unanimously approved a professional services agreement with engineering firm Bolton and Menk that will consolidate and enhance the city’s geographic information system capabilities in mapping of critical infrastructure including electrical, water, wastewater and storm sewer distribution systems.

The agreement requires a three-year commitment with an annual subscription cost of $15,000. The proposed scope of work includes migrating existing data of the electrical, water, wastewater and storm sewer distribution systems; and the current zoning map.

The total proposed fee for the work requested by city and WPU staff is $99,650, which will be funded with American Rescue Plan Act funds. Work is scheduled to begin this year and continue through 2022.

Also during Monday night’s council meeting, members approved the appointment of Pat Shorter as Worthington Fire Department chief.

Members of the fire department met on Aug. 31 and forwarded the recommendation to appoint Shorter, who has served on the department for 24-plus years, as chief. Kuhle noted that he didn't “ever want to miss an opportunity to thank our volunteer fire department,” and councilman Chad Cummings also thanked firefighters’ spouses and their families.

The council also approved the creation of position of field house manager to staff the JBS Field House and Administrative Recreation Center. The individual will report to the city’s public works director. Robinson noted that costs associated with the position are included in the just-approved pre-certified levy, as well as additional wages for part-time people. It’s hoped the new facility will open around Jan. 1, with a manager potentially coming on board sometime in November.

Also on Monday, prior to the council meeting, the Worthington Economic Development Authority approved an application submitted on behalf of Glo by Trends Salon, 923 Sixth Ave., for $10,000 in matching grant funding through the city’s façade improvement matching grant program. The rehabilitation work includes removing the existing wood siding and replacing it with new wood siding and stone façade, replacing the existing soffit and replacing two exterior doors.

The council also approved a professional services agreement with Bolton & Menk involving the replatting of a Prairie Holdings Group commercial property located north of Interstate 90, east of U.S. 59.

The agreement establishes a fee structure based on an hourly rate not to exceed an overall fee of $13,500 without prior consent from the city. The proposed new lot alignment would result in the city receiving approximately one-third of the contract for deed property back from Prairie Holdings Group.

Since the city will benefit from having a clear legal description for this property, city staff felt it appropriate for the city to assist with one-third of the costs of the service.

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