The Norwood Young America city council met on December 9 to listen to their annual Truth In Taxation Hearing, which goes over the 2020 budget and levy. The preliminary levy was approved at a bit over $2.9 million an increase of 12.8 percent.

Steve Helget, city administrator started out the public hearing with a presentation regarding the 2020 budget and levy.

“Municipalities are required by law to adopt a new levy each year,” said Helget. “This hearing is specific to property taxes for next year.”

The city holds the Truth In Taxation presentation every year for a few different reasons, mainly to keep the public involved and educated through the process of determining the levy. The public can also voice concerns about the budget and what it’s being spent on, which helps keep the city informed in what they value.

The city has been working hard since the beginning of the year to determine what the budget is going to be. There are two different aspects of the levy: the general fund and the utilities funds. The general goes to pretty much everything that the city does, whether that’s paying employees or doing park maintenance. Utilities go exclusively to water and sewer needs for the city. The city is funded by the state and federal government, according to Helget, but most of the funding for city actions comes from the general fund taxes.

Helget then presented on the budget itself, which started with looking at the revenues in the presentation. The total revenues for 2020 are a little over $2.35 million for the city, with two thirds of the revenues coming from property taxes in the area.

A few factors that went into the proposed levy for this year included the Street Improvement Projects Fund, which amounts to $100,000, as well as reimbursements from the Oak Grove property purchase and the Peace Villa expense reimbursement.

The expenditures for 2020 are set at, again, a little over $2.35 million, though about $200 less than the revenues are set to be. Some of the bigger expenditures set for 2020 include street maintenance, such as filling in cracks at $110,000, updating some of the buildings in Willkommen Memorial Park such as the pavilion and some of the old town buildings, amounting to $109,000 in total.

One of the bigger expenditures, though, is in the street department. Faxon Road, with the construction set for 212, will be having two signal lights replaced, totaling at $200,000 to replace the lights.

“MNDOT’s policy is that the side streets, the city is responsible for those,” said Helget. “The ones on county roads, the county is responsible for.”

As for utilities, there is no proposed increase for the utilities for 2020. If there’s a lot of growth in the next year, that will change impact the budget, and there has been “nice growth over the last few years” according to Helget, but nothing affecting utility operations as of yet.

Something important to note regarding these taxes is simply that these are just the city’s taxes. As for county, state, and school, those will appear on the property tax statement that will be released in March of 2020, according to Helget.

A couple residents raised the concern that every year their houses are audited as going up in value, for one resident about $60,000 in the last three years. While these decisions are left up the county auditor, there are concerns with the fact that as home value goes up, so too do taxes. Since that’s left up the county, the council stated that there simply wasn’t a way they could answer how the county assesses value. They recommended that anyone with the same concern speak with the county itself.

The city council then moved to approve the 2020 property tax levy. The total levy, a bit over $2.9 million, a 12.8 percent increase from last year, which is the same as the preliminary levy. The final levy was approved unanimously by the city council, followed by the 2020 final budget and financial plan. Property tax documents will be sent to residents in NYA, showing them the exact impact, next year.

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