|9/12/2013 3:54:00 PM|
Taylors Falls decreases levy for 2014
by PAUL RIGNELL
Taylors Falls City Council members voted 4-0 Sept. 9, with council member Larry Julik-Heine absent, to approve a preliminary tax levy of $617,333 for 2014. The city will certify that amount with Chisago County and hold a public hearing on the levy Monday, Dec. 9. The council could choose to lower the levy but cannot go above the number that the county will print and distribute on taxation notices.
The preliminary levy represents a decrease of .15 percent from city taxes needed for 2013. Most of the levy supports costs in the general fund budget ($324,960 is proposed for 2014) and another $120,873 is to cover debt service. The balance of the levy comprises dollars for property tax abatement ($60,000), general street improvements ($43,000), a special project fund ($20,000), the firefighters’ pension fund ($16,500), the city library ($12,000), community center ($8,000), general park maintenance ($11,000) and improvements for the Riverwalk and Cherry Hill parks ($1,000 combined). Council member Ross Rivard said he is pleased with the work that the city has done to hold down the levy.
“I think we really did well in becoming more efficient,” he said. Mayor Mike Buchite said that though the city is at the mercy of factors which affect costs for necessities such as insurance, and fuel for city vehicles; Taylors Falls is nearing the end of payment plans for some of its debt service. “I think for the year after next year, we put ourselves in good position,” the mayor said. Taylors Falls’ tax rate could be 76.8 percent based on this levy and city valuation. This is the 11th year in a row for a rate drop. Other city business Council approved a payment of $50 from a public works safety fund to cover registration fees for two public works employees who will attend a Fall Maintenance Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 2, in St. Cloud.
The city has sent staff in previous years to this conference. Council voted in August to send the Taylors Falls city clerk-treasurer to St. Cloud State University during the second week in October for a program sponsored by the state Department of Revenue. That conference will be specific to legislative changes made in 2013 for a sales tax exemption, which applies to cities and counties. The city clerk-treasurer will be reimbursed for mileage on that trip, but mileage will not apply for the public works employees’ time in St. Cloud as they will travel that day in city vehicles.