City of Grant Facts
The following is provided to help you as a concerned citizen become more informed about your community. Please read on for some interesting information!
City government is set up much like the federal government – there are different branches. The mayor and staff are the executive branch and the council is the legislative branch. (The judicial branch is, of course, the court system.) This means that the council as a whole is responsible for passing ordinances (laws) and approving the overall budget. No one council member has authority to pass policies on his/her own.
The mayor has authority that the council does not. The mayor and staff are responsible for the day to day operations of the city. Approximately 80 percent of the mayor’s duties have nothing to do with what happens in council meetings. Much of what the mayor does has to do with finances, so understanding audit reports and being able to maintain a good working relationship with the city auditor and other professionals, such as engineers, is crucial. The city superintendent has authority over most daily operations of the city, including the hiring and firing of employees. (To learn more about what the city superintendent’s job includes, read “Celebrating 5 Years!” elsewhere on this website.)
The City’s financial resources are limited. For the current fiscal year the City of Grant will collect approximately $235,000.00 in property taxes. By comparison, Perkins County collected approximately $3 million, Perkins County Schools collected approximately 5.7 million, and Perkins County Health Services collected approximately $465,000 in 2017.
In addition to collecting $235,000 in property tax per year (paid only by those properties inside the city limits) the City also receives approximately $60,000 from a state fund for operations. Besides the approximately $290,000 we receive in highway money and highway taxes, which must all be spent on streets, we receive no other significant funding from taxes. This means, if we did not charge utility franchise fees and use electrical system income to fund City programs, we would have approximately $295,000 to run the entire City each year.
Looking at specific service areas of the City we see the following:
Airport – Operations primarily self-funded by hangar rent and airport leases. Capital improvements are 90-95 percent funded by the FAA.
Cemetery – Operations primarily funded by electric system franchise fees ($26,000 this year).
General Business – Primarily funded by city property taxes and state funds ($155,000 this year).
Library - Operations primarily funded by electric system franchise fees ($94,000 this year).
Parks & Rec - Operations primarily funded by electric system franchise fees and city property taxes ($108,000 this year).
Police (Sheriff’s Contract) - Funded by city property taxes ($98,000 this year)
Streets - Primarily funded by motor vehicle taxes and fees, local sales tax, and state highway funds ($290,000 this year). Funds do not leave the street department as it is generally illegal to use these funds anywhere except for streets. Funds do not support other City activities. As a point of reference, it costs approximately $100,000 to concrete 1 block of street.
Sewer – Self-funded by user fees. Funds do not leave the sewer department. Funds do not support other City activities.
Waste (garbage, grass, recycle) - Self-funded by user fees. Funds do not leave the waste department. Funds do not support other City activities.
Water – Operations are self-funded by user fees. Funds do not leave the water department. Funds do not support other City activities. Capital improvement projects are primarily funded by loans.
Electric - Operations are self-funded by user fees. As seen above, many of the City’s programs would not exist if not for the electrical system.
State Highway Project – The State of Nebraska will be conducting a highway project on the north end of Central Avenue (Highway 61) this summer. The project primarily consists of adding shoulders to the highway north of town all the way to the county line. The project will not be downtown. The project has nothing to do with sidewalks, or curbs, or gutters. The State does not pay for sidewalk improvements. State law does indicate that sidewalk repairs are the responsibility of the property owner.
Additionally, the State is working with NKC to repair/replace the railroad crossings in the area, including those in town.
Flag Pole – Recently Monica and Kevin Poppe donated a flag pole on the north side of the park so the United States flag could be flown over the Veteran’s memorial there. Thanks to the Poppe’s for their generosity! Prior to this, no one from the community had visited City Hall about the flag pole in the past five years. Please remember that Mayor Mike Wyatt is a decorated veteran who takes issues like this very seriously. Please also remember that the Tree City USA flag has flown in the park for 21 years and is a source of pride for many people in the community, especially those Tree Board volunteers who have worked hard to earn the Tree City designation.
Lift Station- This summer we will conduct a major renovation of one of the City’s lift stations. A lift station is necessary in some areas to keep the sewer system flowing properly. The repair should not impact you, in fact, you probably won’t even know it has taken place but it is a vital capital improvement.
Armor Coating – This summer we will also be armor coating several of the streets in town. Armor coating is necessary to preserve the type of streets we have. If the workers arrive to complete your street, you will not be able to park on your street for a few hours up to a full day. If all goes well, the whole project should take no more than a couple of days. The companies who do this sort of work travel the region and work as the weather allows. For this reason, we will not receive more than a day’s notice as to when they will arrive. We will do our best to pass on this information by posting on this website.
Cemetery New Section – We are very close to opening a new section in the cemetery. It is necessary to open the unused section to the west because most of the burial spaces in the rest of the cemetery have already been sold. In addition, an area in this new section has been designated as Babyland. Thanks to the hard work of Gerty Wyatt and some generous donors we will now have a special area in the cemetery for young children in the unfortunate event that it is needed.
Garbage Truck – We are expecting delivery of our new garbage truck this summer. Our current truck is 10 years old. With the sort of constant use and wear-and-tear that a truck like that experiences, we know that we will need to purchase a new truck on a regular schedule. Money has been being saved in the Waste fund for the purpose of replacing the truck as needed, so money will not have to be borrowed to purchase it.
Water Project – Approximately 10 blocks of new water main was installed as a part of this project as were water meters. The water meters are up and running. Midwest Electric is contracted by the City to do our utility billing. They have sent out the two months of sample bills requested by the City and have modified the existing electrical bills to reflect the water meter billing. During the two months of sample billing, our public works employees have been helping customers identify and stop leaks to conserve water and keep their bills lower.
As always, if you have any questions about the City of Grant, or city government in general, please stop by City Hall. We’d love to visit with you!