The City of La Vista has a finalized budget for fiscal year 2013-14, and the good news for residents is that, once again, taxes will not go up.
The bad news? The budget is more tightly stretched than in years past after La Vista was hit with an unexpected $2.4 million in tax refund payments to an unnamed local business.
La Vista’s final budget for 2013-14 came in at $28.9 million, with property taxes being levied at a rate of $0.55 per $100 of assessed valuation.
For a property valued at $150,000, that means $825 in taxes, or $68.75 per month.
The generated revenue from the property tax request was decreased from original estimates after property valuations were finalized. That means fewer tax dollars are available to the city’s general fund and bond fund.
The city expects to bring in around $6.8 million from property taxes this year. Most of that total, nearly $6.1 million, will go to the city’s general fund, which pays for the city’s operational expenses.
Among other expenses, the general fund pays the salaries for the mayor and city council, as well as for public buildings and grounds employees and the police department.
The general fund also pays for snow plowing and other street services, sports complex maintenance, swimming pool operations and library events and materials.
About $746,000 will go to the debt service fund, which makes payments on the city’s bonds, which are used for large capital expenditures.
The transition to a part-time paid fire department will cost the city until the Papillion Fire Department begins providing fire services in La Vista. La Vista will pay its former volunteer firefighters to work part-time shifts in the interim.
The tax refund mandated by the state is also stretching La Vista’s tax dollars. The Nebraska Advantage Act allows companies to receive sales tax refunds and other incentives if they meet goals for job creation and other targets in an effort to attract business to the state.
La Vista’s sales tax receipts are being held by the state until the full $2.4 million which a local business claims it is owed by the city — and which state officials have declined to identify — has been paid off.
Sales tax generally makes up 17 percent of the city’s revenue, and $2.4 million is more than half of what the city was expecting in sales tax revenue.
The state informed the city about these incentive payments one day after the city had completed its preliminary budget. As a result, the city has had to postpone hirings for the foreseeable future.