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Lebanon City Council OKs 7% operating budget increase, 3% tax hike

Staff Report
Published: 12/20/2019 10:12:10 PM
Modified: 12/20/2019 10:11:55 PM

LEBANON — City officials approved a 7% increase in Lebanon’s operating budget and also devoted money to the renovation of City Hall this week.

The Lebanon City Council unanimously voted Wednesday night to OK a $36.8 million operating budget for 2020, a $2.4 million increase over current spending levels.

The budget is expected to result in a 3% municipal tax increase, adding 34 cents to the property tax rate and bringing it to $11.59 per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.

That would amount to a 2020 municipal tax bill of $2,900 for a single-family home valued at $250,000, an increase of $85.

Employee benefits fueled much of the budget increase, rising by $1.6 million, City Manager Shaun Mulholland said last month.

Lebanon’s overall budget for next year amounts to $60.6 million, a $10.4 million decrease from Lebanon’s current $71.1 million spending plan.

However, that decrease comes from capital projects, which are typically bonded and paid over multiple years rather than affecting taxpayers immediately.

The cuts coincide with the upcoming completion of Lebanon’s combined sewer overflow, or CSO, projects. That $75 million effort to separate sewer and stormwater in 15 miles of Lebanon’s sewer system should be completed next year, according to Mulholland.

The budget, which would add eight staffers, also would dedicate $3.3 million to an ongoing City Hall renovation effort.

Construction will see city offices — including the city manager, city clerk, planning, assessing, finance and human resources — move into 20 W. Park St., the former home of Citizens Bank in downtown Lebanon.

City offices will close Jan. 9 and 10 for the move, reopening on Monday, Jan. 13.

Offices will remain at the bank space for the duration of the renovation, which is scheduled to be completed by October 2020, according to the city’s website.

Government meetings also will be held in the Citizens Bank building. The Lebanon Opera House is expected to continue normal operations, but the box office will be relocated to 20 W. Park St.

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