Members of the Newton City Council on Monday were reluctant to give the go-ahead to include a number of capital projects in next fiscal year's budget that require taxpayer supported bonds to finance due to concerns on how other pending bonding proposals might impact local levy rates.
Council members put on hold, for now, a staff proposal to issue bonds that would have increased the debt service levy rate 24 cents/$1,000 valuation in the coming fiscal year and be used to finance projects ranging from landscaping and security upgrades at City Hall to new park equipment and the city's share of the project cost to reconstruct East 31st Street North.
In addition to asking for detailed information on the projects proposed by the issuance of the taxpayer supported debt, council members asked what the overall impact would be to next year's debt service levy should it agree to finance the $3.7 million in housing initiative bonds to be considered at public hearings next week.
The council, however, did agree to include a number of other capital projects in next year's budget that would not have direct impact on local taxpayer levy rates.
Capital projects identified in the city's Enterprise and Designated Funds - totaling about $2.5 million - will be included in next year's budget. They will only be financed if the self-supporting funds are able to bear the full costs.
The council also agreed that capital projects that would use Tax Increment Financing bonds to finance should be included in the budget next year. Though bonds would need to be issued to finance the approximate $1.5 million in projects identified, payment would not come through the debt service levy but rather the individual TIF districts where the projects are located.
In regard to the hiring proposals on Monday's agenda, the council did give the go-ahead to hire a development specialist to oversee a number of city initiatives, including retail development, implementation of the Comprehensive Plan, new branding efforts and the proposed housing initiative.
Council members asked for more information in regard to a request to hire two additional firefighters, but were in consensus against hiring a full-time information technology employee.