Taxes going up in Freeborn Co.

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Residential owners to see larger increase because of ag land values

The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday on a 4.25 percent increase in the 2016 Freeborn County tax levy.

Commissioners Dan Belshan and Mike Lee voted no on the $21.1 million levy. Commissioners Chris Shoff, Glen Mathiason and Jim Nelson voted yes.

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Belshan said the half-cent sales tax the county enacted in August should have allowed some savings and cut back on the general levy increase.

John Kluever

John Kluever

He advocated for a 2.5 percent levy increase.

Lee was looking for a levy increase of under 4 percent.

He expressed concern over working families and senior citizens who aren’t getting cost of living increases.

“We need to worry about the little guy to make sure we’re not putting a hardship on them,” Lee said of why he opposed the increase.

Lee and Belshan also voted no on the approved 2016 budget that includes $45.99 million in budgeted revenue and $46.41 million in expenses.

Owners of a residential homestead with a $100,000 value will see their tax bill rise from $350 to $390, an 11.43 percent increase.

Owners of a $100,000 residential non-homestead property will see their tax bill increase approximately from $488 to $544, an 11.48 percent increase.

Owners of a commercial property valued at $200,000 will see their tax bill increase from $1,586 to $1,768, an 11.48 percent increase.

Freeborn County residential and commercial landowners are faced with the increase due to agriculture land declining in value by about 10 percent in Freeborn County, meaning owners of residential and commercial property have to make up for the loss in agriculture land value.

The overall tax increase is due to a few things, according to John Kluever, Freeborn County administrator.

Approximately half the increase is due to the county taking the law enforcement dispatch cost from the city; about 33 percent of the levy increase is due to adding transportation deputies to help with court security and approximately 17 percent of the increase will go toward the operations of the county, Kluever said.

Shoff said he voted yes because he would rather have increased taxes than a breach in security.

The preliminary levy was approved at 5 percent in September, but that was reduced by 0.75 percent.

In other news, the board approved a $5,300 donation to be used toward the K-9 program.The Board of Commissioners approved implementation of the plan Dec. 1.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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