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Wallets may get a break

McCabe introduced a prelim-inary budget last month that called for $35.6 million in spending, up approximately $3.3 million from this year's budget. The proposed tax rate for next year's budget is $5.01 per thousand of assessed value, nearly a 6 percent increase from 2006. Under the initial proposed budget, a home assessed at $200,000, would have had a tax bill of $1,002 in 2007, an increase of $56 from this year. Factoring in the decrease in the tax levy, a homeowner with a house assessed at $200,000 would pay about $49 more in city property taxes next year under the newly proposed budget.

The budget calls for $35.5 million in general fund spending plus $8.7 million in capital projects. The budget also includes $4.33 million to cover the remaining expenses associated with the city's new recreation facility. The recreation facility has a projected cost of $6.5 million and ongoing operational costs that would start at $300,000 per year, and go up annually as salaries and programs increase.

When he unveiled the budget, McCabe urged the city to approach the new recreation center project with caution. The initial cost has nearly tripled from $2.2 million to $6.5 million, and infrastructure costs that were expected to be shared have now shifted to the city, he said.

Bo Kilmer, chairman of the city's Recreation Commission, said parents, staff and members of the community have been waiting for years to see a new indoor facility. He said he is eagerly awaiting the council's decision on the spending plan.""

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