Auburn Citizens to Have Opportunity to Vote on Additional Half-Cent City Sales Tax; Vet Clinic Gets Animal Impound Duties
During the Aug. 22 meeting, Auburn City Council authorized a special election on a half-cent city sales tax increase. According to Mayor Scott Kudrna, the additional half-cent in sales tax would generate approximately $200,000 annually for the city.
The additional sales tax, which would raise Auburn’s tax to seven percent (5 1/2% state and 1 1/2% local) would still have the city in line with most other communities in the area which have the same local sales tax rate.
Kudrna explained that the additional sales tax revenue would be split equally to provide property tax relief for the citizens of Auburn and funding for capital projects such as trails, signage, streets and other items within the City’s Master Plan approved earlier this year and a revitalization plan complete in 2005.
“As we strive to improve Auburn, one of the main things which we can do to differentiate ourselves from other communities would be to have lower property taxes,” the mayor said.
The question was raised as to if capital improvement projects could include payments on paving bonds which the council approved previously. City Attorney Angelo Ligouri said it was his opinion that such a use would be permitted.
Kudrna said, “I don’t think we can ask voters to pay this additional sales tax for past improvements and expenses.”
Councilman Shawn Clark said, “I would like to see all of the money generated by the additional half-cent sales tax go towards capital projects instead of half of it being for property tax relief because the amount which the average property owner would save in real estate taxes would only be about $100 a year.”
Councilman Frank Critser said he agreed with Clark’s concept that the additional sales tax should be used for street projects such as asphalt overlays.
The mayor said with approximately 140 employees at Cooper Nuclear Station and roughly 60 others employed by local industries choosing to reside across the Missouri River, Auburn should do all it can to try to attract those people to choose living here and reducing the property tax burden is one such way of doing this.
The vote to place this issue before the voters of the City of Auburn for a special election to be held before November 11 of this year was approved 4-1, with Clark dissenting. Councilman Larry Holtzman wasn’t present for Monday night’s meeting.
Several Appointments Made
Also on Aug. 22, the Council approved the appointment of Jonathan Neeman, Nebraska City, as a new member of the Auburn Police Department. City Clerk Sherry Heskett administered the oath of office to Neeman, who was introduced by Police Chief Kris Baker. Several of Neeman’s family members were present to watch the appointment. Neeman is the son of Lori and Lonnie Neeman. Lonnie Neeman is a Captain on the Nebraska City Police Department.
Other appointments included Baker and Ligouri to the City’s Ordinance Committee; Councilmembers Chris Erickson and Mitch Bishop and Mayor Kudrna to a health insurance renewal study subcommittee; Dylan Donnelly to the Auburn Volunteer Fire Department; and Matt Hug, Troy Wynn, Bryan Kinnaman, Megan Clark, John Gill, Brett Matteen, Shawn Phillips, Chad Stickell, Bill Chapin, Angelo Ligouri and Bill Dickerson to the Auburn City Recreation Committee.
Mayor Kudrna gave a presentation on the tentative proposed budget for 2011 and a comparison with the 2010 budget. Although the different departments have successfully been able to reduce their expenses, challenges remain with a loss in State Aid and in other financial impacts.
Animal Impounding Changes
The Council passed an ordinance amending the city code pertaining to animal impounding. The change raised the daily impound fee to $10 to match what the city will pay Town & Country Veterinary Clinic to house an animal. It also changed the number of days which an animal will be held because it takes 10 days to verify that the animal in detention doesn’t have rabies. Also, the length of boarding before euthanasia is being changed from five to ten days.
Any dog or cat may be reclaimed by its owner during the period of impoundment by payment of general impoundment fee as described below and in compliance with the licensing and rabies vaccination requirement prior to release of the pet.
The general impoundment fees will be as follows: For the first time any animal(s) licensed to an owner is impounded during a 12-month period: $20; second time, $60; and third and subsequent times, $100.
The council also approved a memorandum of understanding with Town & Country Veterinary Clinic regarding animal impounding. The clinic will now board all of the city’s impounded animals. Also, the city will not need to have a separate pound or feed and water impounded animals. Persons claiming their lost animals will need to work with the vet clinic.