Where’s the Property Tax Relief?
By Andrew Richter
Just like every other city getting “free money” from the state of Minnesota, New Hope looks to spend it rather than lower property taxes;
New Hope City Council unanimously approved a preliminary budget and property tax levy Sept. 9. The total preliminary budget was set at $11.5 million, which is a 1.08 percent or $85,000 increase over 2013. The increase is much smaller than that of last year with a 3.71 percent increase over 2012.
So I suppose that’s a cut?
According to City Manager Kirk McDonald, the major priorities within the budget include the hiring of two new officers –school resource officer and traffic officer, fire station costs and road maintenance. “It’s really a pretty reasonable budget,” McDonald said.
And what’s your salary again…….oh that’s right $113.490. How about you take a pay cut?
A median value home booked at $200,000 would pay $1,208 in city property taxes next year. That is a 3 percent increase equating to an additional $32 a year. The preliminary levy sets the bar for the highest possible amount. The levy may be decreased between now and the finalized version in December as budget hearings progress.
So much for the promised property tax relief.
Of the roughly $11.5 million the city plans to spend, taxpayers will contribute nearly $8 million in taxes toward the general fund operations. This money will be used to continue services to the community such as police, fire, maintenance of several things within the city.
And buying property, running a pool, putting in complete streets, etc.
Council continues to discuss the intention of each department with its portion of the revenue received. This year New Hope is planning to receive more than $532,000 in local government aid. A much greater impact than the nearly $42,000 the city received in 2013. The council plans to use roughly $174,000 of the aid to cover general fund costs. The remaining $386,000 will be added to the water fund.
“This is an effective way to help fund the operations and help pay for project costs as they come up,” McDonald said.
What? I thought increased local government aid was supposed to reduce property taxes. Oh no, it just gives local government more to spend, spend, and spend, as predicted here.
The council discussed the budget in further detail Sept. 16 and plans to discuss it Oct. 21 and Nov. 18 as well. At 7 p.m. Dec. 2 the council will old a public hearing at City Hall prior to finalizing the budget to allow residents to have input and ask questions.
Fill up the room New Hope citizens!!!!