After a few controversial months for the board ahead of the November elections, Commissioner Paul Koering focused on where to reach an agreement in comments following the 5-0 vote on Tuesday December 29th. Like everything in the county’s budget for 2021, he approved most of it – enough for the resolution to get his support.
“If you can reach 90% in life, that’s damn good. I just want you to be aware that I don’t agree with everything in it, but I agree with a large part of it, so I voted yes, ”Koering said while virtually attending the meeting.
Commissioner Paul Koering speaks during a district board meeting on Tuesday, December 29th. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins
Commissioner Rosemary Franzen said she agreed with Koering, noting that her disagreement on some points resulted in her not applying for approval of the measure, but ultimately voting for it.
“I think it raises a good point,” said County Administrator Tim Houle. “A budget of $ 95 million. If there isn’t something in there that you don’t like, then you’re not looking at it closely enough. There are things in it that I don’t like either. … We don’t always get everything we want in life, do we? “
Koering said Houle was spot on.
“This board has our differences, you know? I think I could run away from us all. Rosemary and I had an argument, and Commissioner (Doug) Houge, ”Koering said. “… But I appreciate all of the county board members and working with them, and we’ll work together where we can and when we can’t, we’ll have a heated discussion. And hopefully when we leave this room we aren’t – we don’t hate each other. “
The property tax levy is set to rise 4.97% in 2021, meaning the county is projected to collect a total of $ 41,262,480 from those who own property over the next year. While it’s still an increase over the 2020 tax levy, it’s a smaller increase than the previous two years – 6.99% in 2019 and 6.95% in 2020.
According to county officials, three major budget pressures add approximately $ 1.1 million to additional staff costs due to the one-off occurrence of a 27th pay period in a decade. Another expected loss of nearly $ 1 million in revenue as the Minnesota Justice Department may no longer place state inmates in the county jail due to the effects of the pandemic. and a loss of investment income due to a decline in interest rates conservatively estimated at $ 293,985.
District Administrator Tim Houle will speak during the District Board meeting on Tuesday, December 29th. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins
How does this increase in the county tax affect taxpayers? This depends on the individual circumstances of the individual properties – especially changes in value. In some cases, even as the amount of money to be raised increases, people may pay less to Crow Wing County than they did last year.
For example, if the owner of a residential home in Brainerd with an average market value of $ 101,200 did not see a change in the estimated value of their home between 2020 and 2021, the portion of taxes in the county would actually decrease by $ 1 to $ 328, $ 329. If the value of their home increased an average of 3.73% over the next year, they would pay $ 340, or $ 11 more.
The owner of the average Baxter commercial / industrial property of $ 1,063,100 with no change in value would pay $ 6,773 instead of the $ 6,801 or $ 28 less paid in 2020. However, given an average increase in value, that taxpayer would pay $ 233 more.
Also, no change in the value of the average Crosslake seasonal recreational property of $ 376,500 would result in a slight decrease in taxes from $ 1,248 to $ 1,243 year over year. Or with the average increase in value, the seasonal recreational property owner would pay $ 41 more.
Property taxes are expected to represent 45% of total county’s revenue over the next year, with intergovernmental revenue – such as grants, cost-sharing agreements, and other financial arrangements with other government entities – accounting for 33% of projected revenue. Other taxes (9%) and fees for services (7%) make up the bulk of the remaining revenue, which is expected to be $ 92,788,205.
Of the $ 41.2 million in taxes expected to be collected in 2021, the majority will support community services and public safety. A third of the tax goes to community service – the county department, which is responsible for adult services, child support, child and family services, community corrections, public health, financial assistance, nutritional support, and veterinary services. Public security services, which make up the sheriff’s office and county jail, receive 28% of property taxes collected.
The remaining taxes are shared among the other counties and spending areas – Administrative Services (12%), Government Services (11%), Land Services (7%), Highway Services (5%) and Capital Projects (4%). . Less than 1% will be used to pay off debts for which the last major payment was made that year. The remaining debt includes airport bonds and a small portion for the Crosslake motorway division. The Motorway division benefits more than most of the other county divisions from external sources of income such as state aid and local option sales tax.
Part of the resolution were also the levies for the first and second assessment districts, for which the district authority acts as the municipal administration. The 2021 levy in the First Assessment District – also known as the Disorganized Area – is $ 1,074,355. This is an increase of $ 96,333, or 9.85%, over 2020. The First Assessment District comprises the area north of Baxter and Brainerd, east of Merrifield, which extends north to the Nisswa city limits. It is the third largest population center in the district.
In 2017, the district authority agreed to increase the unorganized charge by around 9% per year until at least 2023 to cover road construction costs. That decision was made when district officials realized that the resident tax rate was insufficient to cover these costs after 2020.
The provisional levy for the second district was originally set at $ 66,048, which would have been a 77% increase over the previous year. Finance director Nick Mielke said in September that this was due to a typographical error in 2020 when residents of that district were taxed at a levy of $ 36,000 instead of $ 67,000.
However, the final proposed levy has been lowered to $ 47,450 for 2021.
The Second Assessment District, formerly Dean Lake Township, is located in the east-central part of the county along the Crow Wing-Aitkin county line.
CHELSEY PERKINS can be reached at 218-855-5874 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey.