Final Bulletin area cities approve proposed 2016 tax levies

The remaining Bulletin area cities have approved their proposed 2016 property tax levies.

The levy numbers approved are maximum increases — the numbers can be decreased but not increased before their final approval at the end of the year.

Ahead of the Sept. 30 Ramsey County deadline, Arden Hills, Mounds View and New Brighton approved their proposed levies. The Mounds View Public Schools Board approved its proposed levy increase as well.

A roundup of preliminary property tax levies in Shoreview, St. Anthony and Vadnais Heights can be found in the Sept. 16 edition of the Bulletin.

Arden Hills

At Arden Hills' Sept. 28 city council meeting, there was a lot of debate about what to set the maximum levy increase at.

At a previous meeting, Mayor David Grant had asked staff to find a way to have the proposed maximum increase be 3 percent. This would have been an increase of $102,000 for a levy of $3,461,775.

The staff came back with this as an option, but the proposed 3 percent increase meant a $200,000 deficit in the city's preliminary budget.

Staff was recommending a 6.5 percent increase, which would be an increase of $217,000 from 2015’s levy. This would make the proposed levy $3,576,775.

Council member Fran Holmes said she wanted to see the max increase be set at 6.5 percent, because, as she reminded other members, they could still work on lowering it at subsequent meetings.

Council member Brenda Holden proposed at least a 4 percent increase, while Grant and council member Dave McClung were both in agreement about a 3 percent increase.

Sue Iverson, director of finance and administration, said there are several reasons for the proposed increase including public safety contract cost increases, increased costs of salaries and benefits and more transfers to the Economic Development Authority fund

In the end, a decision was reached to approve a 3.5 percent maximum increase by a 3-1 vote, with Holmes voting against.

A 3.5 percent increase would mean a levy of $3,478,775, an increase of $119,000.

Grant said he hopes it can be brought down to 3 percent by the final hearing; McClung said he wouldn’t support anything above 3 percent in December.

The 2016 median home value in Arden Hills is estimated to be up  1.8 percent to $300,300.

A 3.5 percent levy increase means a $7.65 decrease in property taxes on median-value homes. A homeowner with a median-value home could pay $11.72 less in taxes in 2016 if the levy was increased by 3 percent.

A 6.5 percent increase, which is what staff recommended, would have meant homeowners with a median-value home would pay an extra $15.73 in taxes for the year.

Arden Hill’s estimated 2014 population, according to the Census Bureau was 9,876.

The city's final budget hearing is set for the Dec. 14 hearing.

Mounds View

Mounds View unanimously approved a proposed 1 percent levy increase at its Sept. 14 meeting.

A 1 percent increase raises the levy to $4,393,813, which is an increase of $43,503 from 2015.

Mark Beer, finance director, said this increase was primarily driven by increased worker compensation insurance, personnel costs and contractual fire protection.

The Ramsey County estimated median home value for 2016 is $174,600, a 3.5 percent increase from 2015.

There is additional tax capacity in Mounds View this year causing taxes to go down. A homeowner with a median-value home could see the amount they pay decline by $10.

The Census Bureau estimated Mounds View’s 2014 population to be 12,675.

Adoption of the final budget will happen at the Dec. 14 city council meeting.

Mounds View Public Schools

A roughly $1.2 million tax levy increase was approved by the Mounds View School Board at its Sept. 15 meeting.

This 2.83 percent increase brings the total levy to $44,407,834 compared to 2015’s levy of $43,185,872.

This increase is mainly for referendum per pupil funding that is directly influence by increased student enrollment.

Discussion of the budget and levy will happen at the Dec. 8 Board meeting.

New Brighton

The New Brighton City Council voted on two motions regarding its proposed 2016 tax levy on Sept. 22.

The levy presented to the council was a 3.86 percent increase. This $267,000 increase would bring the levy to $7,192,000.

This 3.86 percent increase represents the amount of funding that is needed for the 2016 street reconstruction project, according to city staff.

Mayor Dave Jacobsen wanted this increase reduced to 2 percent. An increase of 2 percent was voted upon, but it did not pass in a 2-3 vote.

The original motion of a 3.86 percent increase passed 3-2, with Jacobsen and council member Gina Bauman voting against.

New Brighton's 2016 median home value is estimated by Ramsey County to increase to $218,600, a gain of 4.5 percent. This levy increase means homeowners who have a median-valued home could possibly pay an extra $31 in taxes next year.

New Brighton’s estimated population in 2014 was 22,266.

Final budget will be approved at the Dec. 8 New Brighton council meeting.

Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or staffwriter@lillienews.com.

 

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