Despite rising inflation and growing economic uncertainty on a national scale, Moline leaders say the City’s finances are in a strong financial position and the 2023 budget – scheduled for adoption on Nov. 29 – is well positioned to weather any potential downturn.
Council members will be asked to approve a balanced budget that modestly decreases individual taxpayers’ property taxes while still investing heavily in hard infrastructure citywide, particularly street improvements.
The FY 2023 budget totals $159.02 million, up from 2022’s amended $155.26 million budget. It funds all existing city services without raising taxes on existing property owners, while also retaining healthy cash reserves and aligning with the City Council’s strategic plan. The tax levy rate is projected to decrease from $1.9437 per $100 of assessed value to $1.8535 per $100 of assessed value based on tentative equalized assessed value from Rock Island County. The city’s Equalized Assessed Value, or EAV – essentially the total taxable value of all residential, commercial and industrial properties within city limits – grew by 8.35% in the past year.
Finance Director Carol Barnes said the EAV growth was attributable to a mix of modest new development, the closure of TIF 1 and increasing housing values. Still, Barnes said, the FY 2023 budget is purposefully conservative to account for inflationary pressure and concerns about the broader economy.
“We feel that’s being fiscally responsible,” she said, adding that the City is slowing the pace of new hires and spreading capital projects out over multiple years.
Last year, the City budgeted to fill 39 vacancies and 11 new positions. This budget calls for the addition of only one additional FTE. Still, the 401 FTEs on the books currently is a record high and a significant increase from the 371 FTEs the City employed as recently as 2020.
While total property tax collected by the City will increase from $15,308,878 to $15,817,480, an increase of 3.3%, most property taxpayers in Moline will not pay more thanks to the projected levy rate reduction.
The budget does include modest increases in the storm water and sanitation utility fees designed to help fill budget gaps. On a monthly basis, a Moline homeowner with a medium-sized lot can expect to pay $1.12 per month more on their storm water bill and 66 cents per month more for sanitation.
On the capital improvement projects front, the City continues to invest in streets, sewer and other hard infrastructure. The budget calls for spending $41.7 on street, water, sewer and equipment projects. Included in the list is $2.7 million in engineering design for the South Slope sewer plant, $7.8 million for renovations at Riverside Park including a new pool and parking lot improvements and $1.25 million for the reconstruction of the intersection of Avenue of the Cities and 16th Street.
The 2023 budget also contains projects funded through the City’s allocation of $20.8 million in federal ARPA dollars. The $5.039 million to be spent in 2023 includes money for the first phase of the 7th Avenue reconstruction project, an $8.7 million total project, as well as the first phase of a Quiet Zone project along the rail line downtown (estimated at $9.1 million) and additional property acquisitions in the I-74 redevelopment area.
A new source of revenue for 2023 and going forward is the Cannabis Tax Fund. While no cannabis taxes have yet been collected, the City is estimating bringing in $500,000 in 2023. Because the actual amount is to-be-determined, the City has only allocated spending $225,000 in 2023, with $150,000 going toward special events and $75,000 toward public arts projects.
The city’s revenue stream is very diverse, with only 10% derived from property taxes. This chart shows where the city’s money comes from:
And here is how it will be spent: