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Waterloo City Council looks to reduce budget increase by half, phase in police logo expenses

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) -- In another Mondy work session, Waterloo City Council discussed the budget for fiscal year 2022, including an increase to the tax rate for residential and commercial properties.

Council seemed mostly onboard with a budget proposal that would see an increase for residential properties by 3.67% and a commercial increase of 1.22%.

Residents should expect to pay $3 more a month for a home valued at $100,000. The mayor and chief financial officer explained that 2/3 of that tax increase comes from a state policy that shifts a city's tax rate for commerical properties to residential properties.

"We have no control over that," Michele Weidner, Waterloo's CFO said.

Last week, the published budget showed an increase of 6.9% for residential properties.

A lot of the potential budget cuts are contingent upon the latest pandemic relief money coming from the federal government. The major issue is that the city doesn't yet know what that money can be used for as they await guidance from the federal government.

A big ticket item is new police uniforms due to the redesigning of the police logo. That specific line item shows $78,000 for "new uniforms for all." Council members worry about the compounding costs of logo changes on the cars and firearms.

"I truly believe that we should phase this in over three years and divide that funding up as well," Councilman Dave Boesen said.

The majority of council seemed in favor of a phased in approach of some kind. There was a bit of a debate over what to rebrand first.

"To do everything that's very visible to the community in one year, and do the guns the second year," Councilwoman Sharon Juon said.

Councilman Pat Morrissey once again took issue with Mayor Quentin Hart adding a new position to his office that's currently referred to as a "chief of staff" but Hart said that was simply a working title.

Councilwoman Margaret Klein said she wanted that new position to be hired by the council and answer to the council. She previously said it would help with "continuity" when the city elects different, future mayors.

You can read and watch our reporting on last week's meeting here.

A public hearing is set for Thursday, March 25th at 5:30 p.m. in which the city plans to adopt a final budget. The public is welcome to share their thoughts virtually. Visit https://cityofwaterlooiowa.com/register for information on how to participate or call the City: 319-291-4323

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Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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