Town Hall #36

City of Waukee FY23

… a case study in city finances

Wednesday April 13, at 4:30 PM


“City Council Approves Budget and Property Tax Decrease”

This Newsfeed from Waukee brought a good deal of email, similar to this: “Your post from the Waukee City Newsfeed got me riled up again about the way most taxing bodies pull the old “we lowered the tax rate” theme when in fact most are raising taxes. The tax rate is actually meaningless in terms of gauging whether taxes will be higher or lower.”

Setting the headline, and the tax levy/taxes collected issue initially aside, the Waukee budget was used as a case study on municipal finances.

Maybe the increase in property taxes is necessary and appropriate; maybe not.  What are the facts?

How is a budget developed?  What are the sources and uses of funds?  What is the impact of changes in demographics?  What services does the community require/expect of the city? What is the resulting impact on the property taxpayers? 

Guest Panelists:

  • Brad Deets, City Administrator
  • Linda Burkhart, Finance Director


  • How is the budget developed
    • Council sets staff directives from Strategic Plan
    • Establish tax levy goal
    • Workshops and public hearings
  • The assessment timeline
  • Sources and Uses of Funds
    • Property Taxes, Transfers and Licenses/Permits
    • Public Safety, Recreation, Capital Improvements
    • Personnel expenses in drivers of increases
  • Levy rate vs taxes collected
    • Public safety, services & amenities
      • all for the daily cost of a $5.83 latte


  • Presentation Deck
  • Audio
  • Waukee Budget Book