The Columbus City Council voted on Tuesday, Sept. 29, to approve the preliminary levy for the 2021 calendar year with a 3-1 decision.

Council Member Jeff Duraine was the only member present who voted against approving the levy, citing that he was not in favor of the increase in administration wages for an additional employee. When the council met during a during a budget workshop on Sept. 23, Duraine made clear that he was going to be voting against approval after they had discussed adding an employee. 

Council Member Denny Peterson was not present for the meeting, leaving the three votes for approving the levy belonging to Mayor Jesse Preiner and Council members Shelly Logren and Janet Hegland. 

Under the preliminary 2021 budget, the levy will see an overall increase of 0.3% from 2020. The total amount for the preliminary 2021 levy is set at $2,772,704. The increase in funds has been spread out, and the only areas seeing a decrease is the general fund, which dropped by 5.3%, and the fire hall capital, which has not changed at all. 

Residents who currently own property at the median homestead value of $230,500 will be responsible for $1,027 of payable taxes. This is a 2.3%, or $24, increase from 2020. For the average homestead price, which is $242,800, the taxes payable would be $1,091, another 2.3% increase from the previous year. 

For commercial property set at a $500,000 value, the taxes that would be paid for the upcoming year is $4,437, a $102 increase from 2020. 

While the 2021 preliminary levy has been approved, the 2021 budget is projected to be set at $3,178,495. This would be a 1.2% raise from the 2020 budget. The departments of the budget that saw an increase from last year include public works, the blacktop fund, public safety, the park fund, the public works capital fund, and the park capital fund. The general fund saw a 2% decrease from 2020 and the transportation fund and fire hall capital saw no change. The 2021 budget has not yet been approved. 

The next council meeting is scheduled to take place on Oct. 14. 

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