Zimmerman works on budget for 2012

by Nathan  Warner
Contributing writer
The Zimmerman City Council is considering a possible levy increase of $63,105 from 2011 levels in order to present a balanced budget.
City Clerk/Treasurer Kary Tillmann presented the preliminary 2012 revenue and expenditure budgets summarized by department, as prepared by staff. Preliminary expenses are projected at $1,928,413 and preliminary revenue is also projected at $1,928,413, which includes the levy increase of $63,105. The City Council has several options to decrease the proposed levy amount, including reductions to expenses, increases in revenues, or the use of undesignated cash reserves as a budget-balancing tool, instead of a levy increase.
The increased expenses are due largely in part to an increase in the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Department contract and an anticipated increase in fire protection services. Also included in the expenditure budget were costs related to capital expenditures that were initially approved for 2011 with the anticipation that they would be paid for over the course of two years.
The revenues include general taxes, state aids, fees, lease revenues and special levies.  Levy limits have been removed for 2012, and the Market Value Homestead Credit has also been eliminated affecting the city’s net tax capacity, which will, in turn, have an effect on the city’s tax rate.
The preliminary budget and levy must be certified to Sherburne County by Sept. 15, 2011. The council will hold a special meeting on Aug. 29 to discuss the budget in greater detail before reviewing the final preliminary budget on Sept. 12.   Once the preliminary budget and levy are approved, staff will work to refine both prior to the public comment meeting held in December.  While the city is no longer required to hold a Truth In Taxation hearing, the final budget and levy cannot be adopted until after Nov. 24 and must be certified to the Sherburne County auditor/treasurer by Dec. 28.