September 14, 2016

City talks budget crunch

By Kate Johnson

Projecting a 20 percent increase in real estate tax for the city of Beulah seems shocking. However, Mayor Darrell Bjerke presented to the rest of Beulah City Council just what that tax would look like.
Using his own home as an example and throwing out a number of around $200,000 as an assessed value of the home, “I would pay about $75 more next year based on that,” said Bjerke.
There are a number of reasons as to why taxes have gone up, and city and county incomes have gone down. Bjerke presented that State Aid is down by 32 percent, as well as the highway tax being lower than previous years. Coal conversion is another item that is also down compared to prior years.
“We’re plugging in what we’re hearing from Lignite Energy Council that they made 2 million tons less coal in Mercer County,” said Bjerke, “ All of those things contribute to loss of income that we have to make up.”
Looking over the budget, Bjerke noted the major changes that need to take place in their budget in the near future. He also brought up ideas of how other cities operate and create income. Bjerke touched on the Beulah transfer station and how it’s open five days a week and part of the weekend, pondering if changing the transfer station to fewer hours would help. He noted the empty lot across from the transfer station is where people are able to drop branches; however, after hours people have been dumping roofs, cabinets, and other items.

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