Following a public hearing on March 7, the Dubuque City Council adopted an amended version the City’s recommended operating and capital budgets for fiscal year (FY) 2020 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020).
City Portion of Property Taxes
The FY2020 budget provides a 2.43 percent decrease in the City property tax rate which exceeds the City’s goal of a 0.97 percent property tax rate reduction outlined by the FY2020 budget guidelines. The 2.43 percent decrease will result in no property tax increase for the average Dubuque homeowner ($139,493 home value) and a property tax decrease for commercial (-1.48 percent, -$48.53), industrial (-1.79 percent, -$87.16), and multi-residential (-7.07 percent, -$132.29) properties. When compared to the FY2019 rates of Iowa’s 11 largest cities, Dubuque’s FY2020 rate is the second lowest property tax rate.
City Services & Fees
The adopted budget includes City service rate and fee increases intended to provide additional revenue to maintain and expand service levels. Monthly impacts to the average homeowner will increase sewer rates by $1.82, water rates by $1.46, solid waste collection rates by $0.25, and stormwater rates by $0.53 per standard family unit (SFU) equivalent.
The FY2020-FY2024 debt reduction plan in the adopted budget includes the elimination of $91,655,428 in existing debt, the issuance of $44,941,848 in new debt, and accessing $18,868,490 of existing loans. This plan satisfies the Mayor and City Council’s directive to retire more debt than is issued each year, with a net reduction of $27,865,590 (10.44%) of debt over the next five years. To support this goal, the City has accomplished a 9.77 percent ($28,800,000) reduction in debt and 35 percent decrease in the use of the statutory debt limit over the last five years.
The City of Dubuque will have 709.09 (full-time equivalent) employees budgeted in FY2020, which represents a net increase of 10.41 FTEs from the current fiscal year. In addition to reclassifications of existing positions in several departments, new staff will include a full-time civil rights specialist in the City Attorney’s Office and additional public safety staff as part of plans for future expansions. In partnership with the Dubuque Community School District, the police department will add a full-time school resource officer (SRO) in FY2020 and plans to add two more SROs over the next three years, bringing the department’s total to eight. The fire department will add a full-time firefighter in FY 2020 as part of the plan for a new west end fire station. That plan includes the addition of another firefighter FY 2021, four more in FY2022, two more in FY2023, and four more would be added in FY 2024 (for a total of 12 positions).
Amendments to Recommended Budget
The recommended budget was amended to include the following:
All FY2020 budget documents are available on the City’s website at www.cityofdubuque.org/FY2020budget. Printed copies are available for viewing at the City Clerk’s office in City Hall and available for checkout from the Carnegie-Stout Public Library Reference Desk.