By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
The budget, tax rate, certified tax roll, water and wastewater rates for the upcoming fiscal year were all approved by the Commerce City Council Tuesday night in a brief meeting before they adjourned to an executive session. The new budget and tax rate will take effect on Oct. 1.
The tax rate was set at $0.82, the same as the last fiscal year. The rate, which is higher than the city’s effective rate of $0.817, had to go through two public hearings before it was approved by the council.
The new water/wastewater rate increase will result in a blended rate increase of four to five percent. According to City Manager Marc Clayton, the rate is a result of a seven percent increase on water actually used and no increase in the meter rate, which creates a four to five percent net increase.
The increase is based on a study by a professional rate analysis company and will build up both the water and wastewater R&R funds.
According to Clayton, the certified tax roll received in July is more than $270 million which is a $5 million increase compared to last year, the bulk of which is a result of the annexation of Alliance Carpet.
Over the last five years, however, the city has lost approximately $35 million from the tax roll. The loss is mostly due to the university purchasing the Prairie Crossing apartment complex and the loss of Zurn Industries. Both were multimillion dollar hits to the tax roll, according to Clayton.
Clayton said the Hydro Aluminum plant located in Commerce will be operating at 100 percent in the next fiscal year, which will slightly offset the loss of Covidien.
The city is below budget on expenditures for the year, having spent 90.7 percent of the money budgeted through 91.67 percent of the year. The city has collected 108 percent of its budgeted revenue to date. Sales tax is also up, compared to last year at this time, although oil and gas expenditures have exceeded what was budgeted. The water fund is currently $20,000 in the red, but the city expects the fund to be back in the black by the end of the fiscal year.