North St. Paul sets preliminary tax levy

Some homeowners could see a $110 increase in annual city taxes

On Sept. 4, the North St. Paul City Council passed a $5.4 million preliminary 2019 property tax levy, which is a 15 percent increase over last year’s final levy.

The council can reduce the levy before it is finalized at the Dec. 4 Truth in Taxation hearing, but it is not allowed to raise it.

According to Finance Director Jeanne Day’s presentation to the city council, the preliminary 2019 tax levy is made up of a $3.8 million general purpose tax levy, and a $1.6 million debt service levy, which both increased from 2018. 

The general purpose levy contributes to the $7.36 million general fund budget, which saw a 7.88 percent increase over last year. The largest expense in the general fund — 92 percent — goes to fund personnel, both city employees and contractors.

Day said in an interview that one of the reasons for the general fund budget increase is staffing changes that began partway through 2018 that now need to be funded for the full year of 2019.

She said other changes to the 2019 general fund include the way computer and phone expenses are reallocated across the city’s funds, as well as the fire department’s pay structure, which, according to city documents, includes a market-rate pay adjustment.

The debt service levy increased by just over 6 percent from last year, which Day attributed to the addition of new debt bonds, accrued partially by the 2017 street improvement project.

Despite a 15 percent increase in the levy, the city’s tax rate is only expected to increase 7.53 percent, according to Day’s presentation. 

Day explained that North St. Paul’s median valued residential properties are expected to increase in value from $172,800 this year to $185,200 in 2019. That’s an increase of $12,400, or 7.2 percent, in value. 

“This is good statistical growth for the city of North St. Paul, and it’s nice to be able to see that we’re trending along with the neighboring communities,” Day said, later noting that the rising property values help to buffer the tax increases.

Median-valued properties in North St. Paul are expected to see an approximate $110 increase in city taxes in 2019.

A 4-1 city council vote set the preliminary 2019 tax levy. Council member Jan Walczak cast the dissenting vote.

 

—Aundrea Kinney

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