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Ellinwood considers 2014 budget proposal
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ELLINWOOD — The Ellinwood City Council met at a special meeting on Tuesday to consider the proposed budget for 2014.  The city is considering a  decrease in the  mill levy assessment to 37.244 mills for 2014 from 39.244 mills in 2013.
“The 1.3 drop in mills is attributed to the Recreation Commission passing, and an increase of valuation,” said City Administrator Robert Peter. The city will continue with operation of the recreation department until March, 2014.
The community in April voted to form a separate Recreation Commission for the city with its own ability to assess a mill levy.
The estimated valuation for 2014 is $8,843,822. The 2013 valuation is $8,626,196.
Peter emphasized to the council that proposed budget is an estimate prepared six months before the end of the year and involves estimates of expenditures. There are unknown factors such as weather, infrastructure and equipment that make it difficult to estimate.
For the 2013 budget year, the city has had several significant expenditures that are not anticipated for 2014. They included upgrades to the swimming pool, purchase of real estate, manhole rehabilitation and possibly a new police vehicle.
Peter reported that sales tax revenue has recovered to pre-recession levels, and that the county sales tax for 2012 and 2013 is to date higher than pre-2008.
Some of the major expenses for next year will include another chip and seal project, continuing development of a residential area, a water line project,  more manhole refurbishing,  curb and gutter and street work.  Peter also said the city may also replace one of the mowers and the water tank truck that is used to flush sewers.  The tank truck is also used as an additional water source for fire protection.  
The budget provides for a 3 percent pay increase to the employees.  Approval of the budget for publication is not approval of the pay increase.  The council generally reviews salaries in November or December for approval for the following year.  A pay increase of less than 3 percent or no increase at all can be approved at that time.  
In addition, the city has budgeted for an additional employee for 2014. They will work in whatever department needs help, but will be primarily assigned to the parks and streets department.
The city will hold a budget hearing at 7 p.m. on Aug. 13.