The Stillwater City Council voted unanimously 5-0 to adopt its proposed budget on Sept. 21, set the 2022 preliminary tax levy and scheduled the 2022 Truth-in-Taxation hearing for at 7 p.m. Dec, 7, 2021. At the Truth-in-Taxation hearing, the council will allow for testimony and the council will vote on adopting the final budget.

The city set the preliminary tax levy at $15.9 million.

At City Council budget work sessions conducted on Aug. 17 and Sept. 7, the council reviewed operational and capital requests from all departments, affiliated boards and outside agencies, according to a memo from City Administrator Tom McCarty to city councilors.

“The 2022 budget requests included revenue and expenditure programming and capital outlay appropriations to align with the themes and initiatives included in the revised Stillwater Strategic Plan, as well as requests for staffing adjustments and capital requests for preservation of current assets and new project,” McCarty said in the memo. “Based on discussion at the Sept. 7 budget work session, the City Council directed staff to adjust the Preliminary 2022 Budget to include certain revenue increases, health insurance cost reductions, increase funding for a Fire Department study by $40,000, increase the Library levy to 3% over the 2021 levy and include funding for the wellness incentive program. “

The council, in its consent agenda, approved a 13% decrease in health insurance premiums, McCarty said at the council’s meeting on Sept. 21.

“We’ve addressed the retirement health insurance, it was 8.5% of the overall levy, and was reduced to 6% projected for 2022,” McCarty said.

The health insurance decrease is roughly $64,000, the increase from adjusted revenues is $71,685, the increase from a fire department study is approximately $40,000, the increase in the library levy is $4,791 the increase to wellness program incentives is $18,000.

The council directed the council to increase the levy by 6.54% over 2021 and that change will allow the city to purchase additional computer equipment costs to the operating budget.

“We have been borrowing money for small items of equipment that probably should be included more appropriately in our operating budget,” McCarty said.

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