City council votes to reset cumulative capital fund rate

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Columbus City Council voted Tuesday to reset the city’s cumulative capital fund rate, with two members changing their stance on the matter.

The council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to pass the second reading of an ordinance re-establishing the cumulative capital fund at $0.05 per every $100 of assessed value.

Council members Frank Miller, R-District 4, and Grace Kestler, D-at-large, voted against the measure at its first reading. Both officials had cited concerns about the impact on taxpayers, who already face rising costs from assessed value and utility rates. However, after hearing more information on the matter, Miller and Kestler voted to approve the increase.

Council members David Bush (R-District 3) and Elaine Hilber (D-District 2) attended the meeting virtually and were therefore unable to vote on this matter.

“Under the state statute and our local policy, only the members present may vote on a tax hike or rate increase,” said city attorney Alan Whitted.

The ordinance approved by council states that the cumulative capital fund rate has “trended below the maximum allowable by state law,” with the 2022 rate currently at $0.0465 per $100 of assessed value. The rate will now be set at $0.05 per $100 of assessed value, with the change taking effect beginning with “taxes for 2022 payable 2023.”

Director of Finance, Operations and Risk Jamie Brinegar said previously that the rate has to be periodically reset to 5 cents because it decreases over time. During the council’s May 4 meeting, officials noted that it would be easier if the rate was set at this amount permanently or, at least, reset regularly to avoid large increases.

For the complete story, see Thursday’s Republic.