Wyoming’s property tax levy was approved 4-1, with council member Linda Nanko-Yeager opposed, at $4,800,724 during the council’s Dec. 7 meeting. The levy is a 7.85% increase from 2021, down from the maximum levy of $4,939,514 (or a 10.97% increase) set in September. 

The city approved a $359,000 increase of its levy, which was also offset by $388,0000 growth in the city’s tax capacity. That means that the tax rate increased to 45.01%, an increase of 1.7% from 2021, the first increase in a tax rate in more than five years. The city’s tax rate had been decreasing, from 55.25% in 2017, and hit a low of 43.31% in 2021 before climbing slightly to 45.01% projected for 2022. The tax rate for 2022 is slightly under 2019’s rate of 45.7%.

Based on current market values, a home valued at $200,000 would be paying $814, an increase of $31 from 2021. A home valued at $300,000 would be paying $1,304, or a $49 increase from 2021. A home valued at $400,000 would be paying $1,727, a $68 increase from 2021.

Assuming a 7% increase in home values, which the county assesses, a home currently valued at $200,000 would be paying $871, an $88 increase. A home currently valued at $300,000 would be paying $1,255, a $141 increase from 2021. A home currently valued at $400,000 would be paying $1,921, a $193 increase from 2021.

The council had previously approved $300,000 through the levy, while another $217,753 will be brought in by franchise fees, to go toward street improvements during its Sept. 21 meeting, in a 4-1 vote, with Nanko-Yeager opposed. Prior to this year, the city has paid for its street improvements by utilizing bonds. 

“We’re unable to keep the same pace of keep just doing street projects and bonding for them,” city administrator Robb Linwood said. “When we created that long-term plan, it was really we provided the council different options as far as to look at different financing options as … a pay-as-you-go option, something we’re trying to transition to the city, because we just don’t have the ability to continue to keep bonding. That is a significant increase this year, that street replacement fund, and makes up a significant portion of the increase of our levy overall, but … that was a starting point for this, and we’ll continue to evaluate that year by year.”

Other reasons for the increase in the levy this year include higher health insurance rates, which are estimated to increase by about 9%, as well as workers’ compensation, which increased by 20%. The city gets its insurance through the League of Minnesota Cities. 

“Mainly, that workers’ comp [increase], though, is really something the league has continued to see, a lot of that due to some of the public safety issues in regards to PTSD claims,” Linwood said. Linwood said that while the rate increase is large, it’s still well below prices through a private insurer, and thus the only viable option.

“I can assure the council that is why every other city utilizes them because there is really no other better option to that than them. Before the league instituted that insurance trust, that was one thing that could be a significant cost to cities. It’s expensive now, but it was even worse prior to the creation of that League of Minnesota Cities trust,” he said.

More minor impacts to the budget include an increase in staffing at the police department, as the crime analyst was promoted to full-time in July, and a $50,835 increase for a previously issued bond. The capital equipment fund will receive an increase of $30,000 in 2022 to $200,000. 

Hannah Davis is the Area Editor at the Forest Lake Times. You can contact her at hannah.davis@ecm-inc.com or (763)233-0709

Load comments