The Waukee City Council unanimously approved the City’s budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The budget is a reflection of the Waukee Mayor and City Council’s Vision and Priorities and serves as the major policymaking tool of the organization.
For the first time in 18 years, the Waukee City Council voted to reduce the property tax levy for residents. The tax rate of $13.50 per $1,000 of taxable valuation held steady in Waukee since FY 2001. This year the Council voted in favor of a $0.10 drop to $13.40 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. Thanks to recent growth and increased revenues, staff and elected officials determined that it was possible to drop the tax rate and still maintain a high-functioning community. The future incoming revenue from the Dallas County Local Option Sales and Services tax will also allow the City to make major parks system improvements within the $13.40/$1,000 tax levy.
The FY 2019 fiscal budget for the City of Waukee is comprised of basic operating expenditures totaling approximately $12.5 million, business/proprietary expenses of $23.2 million, debt service expenditures of $7.4 million and capital improvement expenditures of $22.6 million. The full budget totals nearly $74.2 million.
Highlights of the FY 2019 Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) include:
- Phase 5 construction to widen Alice’s Road from two to six lanes from Olson Drive to Horizon Drive (just north of the Waukee Hy-Vee) will begin in April 2018 and will be completed in late fall 2018, costing an estimated $15 million. This phase will complete the nearly four miles of a four- to six-lane roadway from Interstate 80. This roadway provides a strong north-south corridor from Waukee’s southern boundary with West Des Moines to just south of the Waukee-Clive boundary. As part of this project, the City will also collaborate with the Iowa DOT to expand and improve the intersection of Alice’s Road and Hickman Road.
- In keeping with the Council’s vision of offering great leisure amenities, a dog park will be constructed along the Heart of the Warrior Trail east of Alice’s Road. The four-acre park will feature greenspaces, a hard-surface area, benches, waste removal containers, trash receptacles, a canopy/shelter area, permanent restrooms and parking. Both phases of this project are expected to occur in FY 2019 thanks to additional revenue from the passage of the Dallas County Local Option Sales and Services Tax.
- Phase 2 of Fox Creek Park in northern Waukee is slated to be completed in FY 2019. The 18-acre park currently consists of greenspace, plantings and ¾ mile of trails. The completion will occur much sooner than expected since additional revenues will be generated by the new sales tax. Phase 2 of the master plan includes a splash pad, pickleball courts, parking areas, play pods, a shelter and more.
- As Waukee’s boundaries have changed in recent years, the City is working on a master plan for City gateway, wayfinding and community identity signage. The first step in this initiative is the creation, construction and installation of new and distinguishing gateway signs along Douglas Parkway, Hickman Road and University Avenue.
- City officials will work during FY 2019 on developing the Waukee Youth Sports Complex and surrounding park to be located next to Waukee’s second high school north of Hickman Road and east of North 10th Street. The new amenity will include 12 softball/baseball fields, practice spaces, a large pond, all-inclusive playground equipment and parking. Plans for an all-inclusive ball field and fishing pier are under development.
- Multiple sewer extensions throughout Waukee are scheduled for construction in order to serve an ever-growing community. The City plans to connect to the WRA sewer and will decommission its current wastewater treatment plant once connected to the WRA.
- Annual improvements to the City’s water system as well as gas main service and rehabilitation costs are also included in the CIP.
The City of Waukee currently has 100 full-time staff positions. Eight new full-time positions are part of a front-loaded five-year staffing plan aimed at meeting public demand for services and increasing efficiency in other areas. The new positions include: Administrative Police Lieutenant, Persons/Property Investigator, Fire Lieutenant, Firefighter/EMS, Senior Librarian, IT Help Desk Specialist, Building Inspector and Utility Billing Customer Service Supervisor. Public safety improvement and efficiency of City services are of high importance to the Waukee Mayor and City Councilmembers.
The City Council also approved utility rate increases. A $4.34 monthly billing increase for the average Waukee household will occur. The specific increases include: Water - $1.34/month, Wastewater - $2.75/month and Stormwater - $0.25/month. These increases were deemed necessary by City staff in order to keep up with increased operation and system costs.
Both the budget and Capital Improvements Plan are reviewed extensively each year by the Waukee City Council during open work sessions. The City of Waukee is also wrapping up work on its new comprehensive plan. Imagine Waukee 2040, done in partnership with Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc., will help guide future development of land to ensure a safe, pleasant and economical environment for residential, commercial, industrial and public activities. A draft of that plan is expected to be released early this summer.