TWIN FALLS — As the taxable value in the city of Twin Falls is going up, the city’s property tax rate is projected to go down.
City Manager Travis Rothweiler told the City Council on Monday that the city has a net assessed taxable value of about $2.9 billion. That’s an all-time high, and included nearly $53 million in new construction value added.
As proposed, the city’s budget for the next fiscal year would lower the tax rate to $7.31 per $1,000 in taxable value. But because home values are on the rise, many residents could still see an overall increase in their tax bills.
According to Zillow, the median home value in Twin Falls is $178,000. Using that figure, Rothweiler said that homeowner would pay city property taxes of about $651 for the year.
But the City Council could still decide whether to take any foregone balance — tax increases it could have taken earlier but chose not to. The city has about $2.2 million in foregone balance. Although Council members saw that as a sign of frugality, some feared the consequences of not taking the money while the city still can.
“Because we have the forgone (balance), suddenly legislators start talking about ‘Well, maybe they don’t need as much shared revenue as they have,’” Councilman Greg Lanting said. “… As long as Mr. Moyle is the majority leader of the House, forgone balances are going to be in jeopardy.”
Lanting and Twin Falls Mayor Shawn Barigar said they would like to see some potential capital projects come up for discussion in future budget meetings.
The city manager’s proposed $68.2 million budget reflects a $3 million decrease from the current year. It includes several new positions, performance-based salary increases, plus a 4.17 percent increase in maintenance and operations.
Water, wastewater and sanitation fees are proposed to increase — about $1.96 per month for the average water customer, 40 cents per month for the average wastewater customer and 21 cents per month for the average sanitation and recycling customer.
Rothweiler has also proposed $11.36 million in capital expenditures next year — down from the 2018 fiscal year. The city’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
Over the next month, the City Council will hear more about specific areas of the strategic plan, including a new sidewalk program being proposed under the new budget. The Council will then adopt a preliminary budget — with the maximum amount to be spent — on Aug. 6. A public hearing and adoption of the final budget will take place Aug. 20.
In future meetings, the Council also hopes to see more options regarding recycling and sanitation rates, and possibly changing the structure for sewer rates to be more seasonal.
No one from the public commented during Monday’s discussion, but there will be more opportunities during future meetings. Also Monday, the city’s chief financial officer, Lorie Race, gave a presentation on the 2018 finances.
“Most revenues are coming in as expected and expenses are at or below the benchmark,” Race said.