KFSK-FM at 404 North Second Street in Petersburg (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Petersburg’s borough assembly Monday changed the proposed borough budget for the upcoming year, voting to keep this year’s property tax rate and boosting a payment to KFSK.

Monday was the first reading of an ordinance approving a spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July.

As first proposed by borough staff, the budget assumed an increased property tax rate to make up for a loss in overall property value. It would have meant an additional $42 dollars for every 100-thousand dollars of assessed value on tax bills in service area one.

But assembly member Bob Lynn suggested keeping the same tax rate as this year and noted the borough would be considering increases on utility bills.

“The other thing we’re going to have to do is look at increases in a number of the enterprise funds during the year too, and so there is going to be some offset because people are going to be paying more for some of the other services,” Lynn said. “The point being their payments are going to be a bit higher and all I want to do is just hold it the same for another year.”

The tax rate isn’t set by the budget, that’s done later in the spring by resolution. But the spending plan is built around tax rates the assembly supports. Lynn wanted to make up for the lower rate by using more reserve money to balance the budget. As drafted, the budget already is using some surplus to cover an expected loss of state reimbursement for school and other capital project debt.

The vote was unanimous to keep the same property tax rate.

It was also a 6-0 vote to boost the borough’s payment to KFSK, another suggested change from Lynn. Assembly member Taylor Norheim backed the increase.

“I guess on this particular one I will say what I always say is I think the radio station is very important in the case of an emergency they are a very reliable source to get information out to people when they need it and I fully support this move,” Norheim said.

This radio station requested 35,000 dollars from the borough. The draft budget proposed a payment of 32,000 but the assembly supported changing to the full request. Other community organizations, Mountain View Food Services and the Chamber of Commerce also would see an increase in payments from the borough in the upcoming year under the draft budget.

The borough has been able to use federal emergency funding to pay salaries of first responders leading to budget surpluses last year and this year.

The assembly can make additional changes at the second and third readings of the budget ordinance this month and next.

Also Monday, the assembly gave the final approval for changes to this year’s budget. That will mean putting some of this year’s surplus into a fund dedicated for building repairs and land purchases and improvements. Some of that money will go to a change order for repairs on the fire-damaged motor pool building.