A preliminary tax levy for 2020 approved by the Anoka County Housing and Redevelopment Authority Aug. 27 is an increase over this year.

The proposed 2020 levy totals about $1.94 million compared with the $1.78 million levied this year.

According to Karen Skepper, HRA executive director, the levy is pledged to back the bonds sold to construct the four senior housing buildings owned by the HRA. To meet the bond requirements, the HRA must certify there are sufficient dollars to pay the debt, requiring the tax levy to be the maximum allowed by state law.

The HRA derives revenues from rents paid by the residents of the senior housing building, but funds have to be included in the budget for each building in case the rent doesn’t generate enough money to pay the bond debt, Skepper said.

The proposed 2020 levy is the same as 2019 in that it taps 0.185% of the total market value in the county, but the amount is higher because property values have increased in the last year, she said.

While the tax levy provides the bulk of the HRA’s revenue, funds will also be generated from other sources — management fees, interest and ice arena fees — to total $2.05 million in 2020, the same as the proposed expenditures.

The HRA’s proposed budget, which has an increase in spending over this year’s $1.89 million, includes $659,422 for administration and $1.39 million for projects in participating cities using a formula based on the HRA taxes in each community.

According to Skepper, the administrative budget has funding for countywide programs like Open to Business, Greater MSP membership and the host community fee for the 3M Open PGA golf event.

Salaries and benefits include half the cost of the county’s economic development specialist position, with the other half coming from the county administrator’s budget, Skepper said.

The county HRA does not levy countywide — it only collects from the 12 communities in a taxing district that receive services from the HRA, which are Centerville, Columbia Heights, Columbus, Ham Lake, Hilltop, Lexington, Linwood Township, Nowthen, Oak Grove, Ramsey, Spring Lake Park and St. Francis.

Other cities in the county pass levies for their own housing and redevelopment authorities, although Columbia Heights is part of the county HRA even though it has its own HRA, Skepper said.

The HRA, which comprises the members of the Anoka County Board, approved the preliminary levy and budget with no discussion. It had been recommended for approval by the HRA’s Management Committee.


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