Hopkins City Council

The Hopkins City Council is planning to approve the preliminary 2020 budget and levy, which includes a 12.86% tax levy increase, at the Tuesday, Sept. 17, meeting.

The levy increase is the maximum amount, which can be decreased but not increased, with the final budget and levy approval after the Truth in Taxation public hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Proposed tax increases will be mailed to taxpayers in November.

The council reviewed the budget as presented by Nick Bishop, finance director, at the Sept. 3 meeting. The budget includes a general fund totaling $15.6 million, a $964,000 or 8.14% increase over 2019.

The total proposed 2020 tax levy is $18 million, a $2 million or 12.86% increase over 2019.

The projected annual city tax increase on a median value home ($276,000) is $253 over 2019, increasing from $1,734 to $1,987.

Additions to expenditures for 2020 include:

• Public safety: one full-time police officer starting in July, a continuation of the DWI officer program (county grant expires in September 2020), and the cultural liaison, with the county contributing 70%.

• Administration: Part-time salary increases for elections with early voting and presidential primaries, upgrades in technology to assist with moving to paperless, security software, intern and additional contingency.

• Public works: Software upgrades, replacement of the banners on Mainstreet and Excelsior Boulevard, and contracted irrigation at Cottageville Park and Shady Oak Road.

The total levy includes increases due to improvements at the Hopkins Pavilion and a plan to eliminate the deficit at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

The debt service fund also increased by 18%, which includes the city portions of Blake Road and the Southwest Light Rail projects, along with the Cambridge and Oxford street project and the city hall project, which is also funded through franchise fees.

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Kristen Miller is the community editor for the Sun Sailor, covering the communities of Plymouth and Hopkins. Email story ideas to kristen.miller@ecm-inc.com

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