Hillsboro’s $5.5 million budget will require slight mill increase

After receiving no input from the public, the Hillsboro City Council at a special meeting Aug. 14 unanimously approved the 2002 city budget.

No citizens were present to speak during the time set aside for a public hearing on the budget.

The total expenditure budget for 2002 will be just under $5.481 million, but the vast majority of that number involves expenses related to such things as public utilities and bonds, which are self-funded through the sale of those utilities and special assessments.

The portion of the budget raised through property taxes for 2002 will be $480,889 and will require a property tax levy of 40.483 mills. That compares to $466,625 in 2001 and a mill levy of 39.680.

This was the first budget prepared by City Administrator Steven Garrett. He said he followed past procedures this year but intends to make the document more meaningful in the future.

“I want to work toward making it a policy document rather than a bunch of numbers we have to stay under,” Garrett said.

Mayor Delores Dalke concurred, and said she hoped that future budget could also identify specific projects earmarked by the council for the coming year.

As an example, she said the council previously had set a goal of redoing one block of alleyway in the downtown area each year, but that good intention had been lost in the shuffle this past year.

“We need a plan,” she said.

“It’s a major shift in thinking (from the way past budgets have been used), but it’s something we ought to do,” Garrett said.

In other matters, Garrett said he didn’t have much additional information to contribute to the discussion about a possible Main Street makeover.

Garrett did say a few core samples had been bored on Main Street. They revealed an accumulation of about four inches of asphalt over the original brick street instead of the five inches previously estimated.

Garrett also said he encouraged City Engineer Bob Previtera to “sharpen his pencil” and come up with a few more options that would lower the cost of the project.

At council’s Aug. 7 meeting, Previtera had estimated the cost to resurface seven blocks of Main Street, two blocks of Grand and one block of First Street-and to correct drainage problems in the downtown area-to be $1.107 million.

The council also discussed a grant that would pay for new lighting at the city airport. The project would including lighting for the runway, taxi-way, gas island and a new heliport area, plus some instrument-guidance equipment.

The grant would be a 90-10 split between the federal and city governments. The city’s share would come to about $14,000.

After considering four bids, the council chose Reiss & Goodness to be the city’s official administrator for the $270,000 community development block grant. The appointment of an outside administrator is required by the terms of the grant.

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