(Fremont) -- In preparation for the 2011 budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2010, the City of Fremont has prepared a projection of potential costs related to the immigration ordinance now being defended in the courts.
Based on estimates developed with input from Kris Kobach, the attorney defending the ordinance, the City Administrator is recommending that the City Council budget $750,000 for the 2010/2011 budget, raising the overall property tax rate by about 5.8 mills. This would mean an average tax increase of $116 per year on a $200,000 home. If estimates prove to be high, any excess would be returned to the taxpayers by adjusting the 2011/2012 mill levy.
The city has researched the experiences of other communities defending similar ordinances including Farmers Branch, Texas and Hazleton, Pennsylvania. While Kris Kobach, the attorney representing the City of Fremont, has agreed to represent the city at reduced cost, the city anticipates other substantial costs relating to the lawsuit(s). Excluding plaintiff’s fees, costs have averaged around $800,000 per year in Farmers Branch, and $1,250,000 per year in Hazleton. Both cities use Kris Kobach as their attorney, also at reduced costs.
It is important that the City avoid underestimation of all direct and indirect expenses related to defense of the immigration ordinance. Under Nebraska law, the city must operate within its budget. If the City did not budget accordingly, the City Council could be forced to slow down the legal process to avoid overspending.
Additional costs the City is planning for include fees to Kris Kobach including travel, lodging, and outside assistance as needed; depositions, document redaction, expert witnesses, and discovery costs; ancillary lawsuits and potential plaintiffs’ fees; and technology, personnel, and other related costs.