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When Moline City Council members gather to vote on the city’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget on December 7, they will do so with the knowledge the city is in strong financial shape despite the impact of a global pandemic and subsequent economic downturn.Due to that strong financial position, aldermen will be asked to approve a balanced budget that lowers the city’s property tax levy by $500,000 while still funding seven new full-time positions, filling 46 existing vacancies and launching $27 million in capital projects and equipment.
The FY 2022 budget totals $147.54 million, up from 2021’s amended $133.96 million budget. It funds all existing city services without raising taxes or utility fees, while also retaining healthy cash reserves and aligning with the city council’s strategic plan. The tax levy rate is projected to decrease from $2.0177 per $100 of assessed value to $1.9317 per $100 of assessed value. The city’s EAV, or “equalized assessed value” – essentially the total taxable value of all residential commercial and industrial properties within the city limits – grew by 1.15% in the past year from $783.4 million to $792.4 million.
Total property taxes will decrease from $15,806,321 to $15,306,321, a decrease of 3.2%. The $500,000 reduction in property taxes will offer tax relief to Moline’s citizens and businesses following two difficult years of pandemic and economic challenges. For example, the owner of a $100,000 home in Moline is expected to pay $15 less on the city share of their 2022 tax bill than they do in 2021. Likewise, the owner of a business valued at $500,000 is expected to see their tax bill decrease by around $121.
Despite the levy reduction, Moline will add employees and invest in new projects, thanks in part to an infusion of federal money from the American Recovery Plan Act. Moline is allocating $10.06 million in ARPA funds to spend next year and an additional $8.4 million over the following two years.
More than $27 million is budgeted for capital improvement projects, streets, water, sewers and equipment. Among those are $4.5 million in engineering design for the South Slope sewer plant, $7.1 million for renovations of the Riverside Park pool and tennis courts and new soccer and basketball courts at Stephens Park. The budget also funds $1.25 million towards other items in the city council’s strategic plan.
In addition, the budget has $1.1 million for new personnel, including six new full-time public works employees, a new assistant city administrator and seven new positions in economic development and water treatment/water pollution control. The city has also allocated budget dollars to fill more than 40 currently vacant positions, many of which went unfilled during the pandemic-caused hiring moratorium in 2020.
Other budgeted items include funding for enhanced leaf pick up and snow removal, additional employee training, safety equipment and records management systems for police and fire and reinstating Sunday hours at the library beginning January 2022.
The city’s revenue stream is very diverse, with only 10% derived from property taxes. This chart shows where the city’s money comes from:
And this graph shows how it will be spent:
Another factor helping the city remain financially strong is savings derived from decreasing the amount of interest the city pays on bonds. On November 17, the city issued $85 million in pension obligation bonds, resulting in savings to the city totaling over $58 million over the life of the bonds, or around $3 million per year. As part of issuing the bonds, Moline was subjected to a credit review by Moody’s Investor Service, which affirmed the city’s A1 bond rating. Moody’s also highlighted the city’s strong financial position, particularly healthy fund balances and liquidity across all funds. Moody’s noted that the city’s local economy “exhibited significant resiliency through the pandemic” and achieved annual tax base growth of around 3% for each of the past five years.