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Tax increase likely for Sterling

Officials expect big pension hikes

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 2:11 p.m. CDT

STERLING – The city is expecting big increases in its contributions to the fire and police pension funds, which likely means higher taxes.

Last year’s tax levy was $3.3 million, which the city expects to increase to $3.5 million. It amounts to a 5.5 percent increase. 

The levy for the general fund, which pays for things such as police and fire, is expected to drop by $30,000. 

But the fire pension contribution is estimated to jump by 18 percent to $562,046. The city still is awaiting projections for the police pension fund, but the calculation is now estimated at 10 percent over last year’s amount.

If the levy ends up exceeding 5 percent, then the city would be required by law to hold a public hearing. The final number depends on the police pension fund, information that the city expects to get within the next week.

On Monday, the City Council approved the tax levy estimates.

If the city’s levy increases by 5.5 percent, the owner of a $100,000 house, using a homestead exemption, would get a $3.81-a-month tax increase, City Administrator Scott Shumard said.

The city must vote on its final levy by the end of the year.

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