Council approves initial levy increase

Published 8:41 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Funds would go toward street projects in 2018

Albert Lea residents could see an increase in their city taxes under a preliminary 2018 tax levy approved Monday.

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The Albert Lea City Council unanimously approved a preliminary 2-percent increase in the levy for street projects.

The estimated increase on a home with a $100,000 assessed value would equate to a little less than $21, said Albert Lea Finance Director Kristi Brutlag.

The city’s proposed 2018 general fund expenditure budget is $15.97 million, an increase of 1.34 percent from the 2017 expenditure budget.

The 2018 preliminary general fund and debt levy was approved at $6.36 million.

The 2018 budget will be further addressed this fall. The council must approve a final budget and levy by Dec. 11.

The tax levy can only be decreased before the final levy is set, per state law.

There is expected to be no increase in the general fund levy for the sixth year in a row. The general fund levy covers police, fire, streets, parks, library, engineering and administration departments.

Brutlag said cost-of-living increases, health care costs and other factors are reasons why city expenditures are increasing.

Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams said last week the city hopes to reduce the tax levy before the final amount is certified.

“We think we have opportunities to do that,” Adams said, who added that constituents have expressed their willingness to pay for small tax increases for street projects.

He spoke highly of the relatively low tax increases Albert Lea has instituted compared to neighboring communities. 

In other action, the council:

Scheduled public hearings for Oct. 9 regarding assessments for this year’s neighborhood improvement, East Main Street frontage road and landfill reconstruction project, Sunset Street reconstruction project, South Broadway Avenue project and Lake Avenue and East College Street reconstruction project. Assessments for the neighborhood improvement, Sunset Street and Lake Avenue and East College Street projects are scheduled to be paid over 10 years at 3.94 percent interest, while the South Broadway project is scheduled to be assessed at 3.94 percent over five years. A public hearing on proposed assessments for delinquent water and sewer accounts and other delinquent accounts was also scheduled for Oct. 9. 

Designated Oct. 14 as Hometown Pride Cleanup Day and authorized reduced rates at the city’s transfer station. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at the transfer station and demolition landfill.

Approved a sewer assessment form and waiver of assessment rights for 718 Water St. after the property experienced a sewer line failure. The move allows the city to pay for repairs and assess the property owner for the project.

Approved bowhunting on properties near Hammer Road and Goose Lake owned by Ed Schlede and Blumer family trust.

About Sam Wilmes

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

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