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Levy will increase, taxes won't

Since 2009 the city of Rosemount has reduced its share of taxes on the median home each year. The city wasn't able to continue the trend this year, but taxpayers shouldn't see any increases either.

The city council approved its preliminary budget Sept. 4. City administrator Dwight Johnson said the 2013 budget proposes no increase in the city taxes levied on a median value home in 2013. The median family home will pay an estimated $854 in city taxes in 2013. The median value home for 2013 is $194,100

The proposed levy will increase by $130,068. The city's tax levy will increase by 1.26 percent and the overall increase in city funding needs will be 1.76 percent.

Reasons for the increased costs include additional funding for the fire department, salary adjustments approved in union contracts for 2012 and 2013, the proposed addition of a senior center, maintenance of the new ball fields at UMore Park, investments in new technologies and an increase in contingency funds.

Johnson said they were able to offset the increases by using a surplus of the 2011 general fund to pay down debt levies. Additionally, the city did not fill two full time positions, a receptionist and the public works operations superintendent, that had retirements in 2012. The city council budgeted money for a part-time employee for the receptionist duties if the council feels it's necessary. And the public works department was reorganized and some salary adjustment had to be made.

The city council has worked since 2009 to decrease the city's share of taxes on homeowners. In 2008 the owner of a median-value family home paid $1,058. Every year since the council has been able to reduce the tax burden. Since 2009 the council has decreased taxes on a median-value family home by 19.3 percent.

Council member Jeff Weisensel expressed disappointment the council wasn't able to decrease taxes again and encouraged staff to see if they could find cuts before the final budget passes in December.

The council began working on the budget in April. Finance director Jeff May said their hope was to develop the most conservative budget possible that was consistent with the council's goals, provided the council's direction on levels of service did not weaken the city's long range financial outlook and was balanced.

Overall, May said it was good the city was able to add amenities without seeing an increase in taxes. Additionally, May said the city is in good shape financially and the 2013 budget will help ensure the city continues on that path. The preliminary budget must be submitted to Dakota County by Sept. 15. While the city council can reduce the levy before the final budget is approved in December, they cannot increase it.

The city council will hold a public hearing on the budget at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4.

The city preliminary budget is available for view on the city's website.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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