City amends 2023 general fund tax rate

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The city of Columbus is amending a portion of its 2023 budget to include an additional $413,000 for stormwater capital needs. Officials say that despite the change, the city’s tax rate is expected to decrease next year.

Columbus City Council voted Tuesday to approve an ordinance “rescinding the previous adoption for the general fund and adopting a new levy and rate for the general fund.”

While most ordinances require two readings to be fully approved, City Director of Finance, Operations and Risk Jamie Brinegar said that the state of Indiana only requires one vote for this particular legislation.

In explaining the situation, he said that the state notified the city that its 2023 budget was under the maximum levy by about $413,000.

“The levy is the amount of money we can raise, via taxes, in order to fund our budget,” said Brinegar. “And we have always made it a practice to try and be as close to the maximum levy as possible so that we can do as much as possible for our community.”

Consequently, city officials have decided to rescind the general fund portion of the 2023 budget and add an additional $412,899 to use for stormwater capital.

Brinegar said that for the last few years, City Engineer and Executive Director of Public Works Dave Hayward has requested about $2 million each year for stormwater capital needs. The city allocated $350,000 to the category in 2020, 2021 and 2022 and originally budgeted $400,000 for 2023.

He added that officials have been told that even with the levy change, the city’s tax rate will go down in 2023. According to Mayor Jim Lienhoop, the new rate will be about $1.08 for every $100 of assessed value, rather than the approximately $1.15 that was previously expected. The 2022 tax rate is $1.1134.