Evansville spending jumps in 2018; taxes drop slightly

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Ashley McCallum
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

EVANSVILLEThe city of Evansville's 2018 budget calls for a 19 percent increase in spending for capital improvements, but without a tax rate increase.

City spending will jump from $20.5 million this year to $24.4 million next year.

Long-term capital improvements are fueling the increase, City Administrator Ian Rigg wrote in an email to The Gazette. Borrowing and repayments will begin in 2018 and continue until 2028.

"Right now, our strongest need is repairing and replacing certain parts of our infrastructure," Rigg wrote. "In particular, roads and a few of our public buildings" are priorities.

Projects for 2018 include $3 million in improvements to the library, $1.3 million in road repairs and $400,000 in ash tree removal.

Capital projects consume $4.6 million of next year's budget, compared to $570,000 this year.

The tax levy will remain even at about $2.4 million, with a 0.7 percent decrease in the tax rate from $7.01 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $6.96.

City officials decided not to hike spending an additional 10 percent to avoid increasing taxes.

"The finance committee and council are not in favor of raising taxes without there being a strong need," Rigg wrote.

Requests for additional employees from multiple departments were denied to prevent tax increases, he noted.

"We did not want to add somebody to later be forced into laying somebody off if the pieces would not fit a year or two later," Rigg wrote. "We are growing, so at some point we will be forced to add full-time staff in police and streets, but not in 2018."

More money will be spent next year on the wastewater treatment plant, a project that could pave the way for larger businesses in the future, Rigg noted.

The city plans to spend $3.7 million to repair a lift station that has not been upgraded since 1985. The project will enable the city to support industries that use a lot of water, such as breweries or food processing plants, Rigg said.

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