January is shaping up to be a big decision-making period for the Johnston City Council. On January 4, 2021 the Council approved the Capital Improvement Plan for the period of fiscal years 2022 through 2026. With this action the Council made the following decisions which will affect economic development in Johnston:
- Move forward with planning and construction of sanitary sewer service and water service extensions in the Beaver Creek Development Area (sometimes referred to as the NW annexation area) – if litigation with Xenia RRW can be resolved
- Construct the NW Beaver Drive overlay
- Complete the reconstruction of NW 54th between 86th street and 100th street
- Begin planning for the reconstruction of 100th street from 54th to 62nd Ave.
- Construct the roadways required for the Ignit recreation complex – Johnston Drive west of Merle Hay Road
- Proceed with several important community recreation and quality of life projects including the Trestle to Trestle bridge replacement, the public park associated with the Ignit project, the NW 86th street trail from 54th to 62nd Ave., and enhancements to Lew Clarkson Park, and much more
View the complete CIP plan here.
But there is much more. On January 19, 2021 the City Council held a work session to continue deliberations on the City’s fiscal year 2022 budget. A January 14, 2021 memo from City Administrator Jim Sanders and Assistant City Administrator Teresa Rotschafer provides detailed background information about the City budget, the impact of COVID-19 and the general economy on City revenues. It also describes the strategic priorities recommended by the various department heads. Staff budget recommendations are included in this memo. Planning will continue into February and culminate in the adoption of a new budget at a public hearing on March 15, 2021. Here are a few key points included in the staff recommendations.
- A property tax rate of $10.69 per $1,000 of valuation was recommended. This would be an increase of $0.06 over the current year. There would be no change in the debt service levy
- Property tax dollars collected would increase by $659,978.00 or 3.97%
- The City would maintain a reserve of 24% of the general fund operating expenditures
- The disposition of several development-related decision packages are addressed in a separate document. Items of interest include the following topics:
- A decision package to create a Project Development fund with an initial investment of $25,000.00 remains under consideration. Often development projects require special effort and in some cases would require outside technical assistance. This would provide a pool of resources to support this work
- A decision package to create a marketing plan and program for the Beaver Creek Development area (a.k.a. the NW annexation area – may be deferred until a future budget year)
- Staff requests to enhance GIS web mapping, purchase a large format multi-function device, and to purchase a high-quality video camera remain in the running for approval
Note: At the work work session the Council encouraged the City staff to explore other ways to fund certain decision packages with the goal of keeping the property tax rate at the current level: $10.63 per $1,000 of valuation. More discussion will occur before final decisions are made in March.
Readers interested in the City budget and topics related to economic development are encouraged to review these materials, and when appropriate to express viewpoints to Council members.