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Dakota residents will pay less next year in county taxes

An approved 2013 Dakota County levy is actually lower than the county's 2012 levy. For property taxpayers, it could mean lower county property taxes payable in 2013.

At its last regular meeting of the year this week, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners approved a 2013 levy of $12.15 million, a decrease of $250,000 (.20 percent) from this year's levy.

The approved 2013 budget also reflects a decrease from the proposed budget presented in early November. During budget workshops in November, commissioners reduced total expenditures by $301,681.The approved budget is $291,774,021.

The 2013 levy could mean lower property taxes, according to Dakota County finance director Matt Smith.

The county taxes on a median-valued home of $250,000 are estimated at $564.44, a decrease of $23.41. Property owners also pay property taxes for the city and school district, as well as some smaller taxing districts.

There are no programs or services cut in the 2013 budget. The budget reflects probable permanent funding cuts from the state, and it keeps Dakota County property taxes among the lowest in the state.

The budget funds slightly more than 1,722 full-time positions throughout the county.

In response to lower revenues, the budgets for 2010 and 2011 reduced operating spending by a total of $25.4 million and eliminated the equivalent of 104 full-time potions.

In September the commissioners unanimously passed a resolution authorizing a levy decrease of.20 percent for its 2013 property tax levy. Commissioners voted unanimously for the decrease.

Priorities set

As part of the annual budget-setting process, the commissioners also set their priorities for the year. The top four are as follows:

• Decrease theft and damage crimes in the county parks and trails by 10 percent through proactive enforcement, utilization of innovative strategies and cross-jurisdictional cooperation.

• Begin construction on the upgrade at Byllesby Dam.

• Support the launch of the Metro Red Line on Cedar Avenue and work towards completion of remaining phase 1 projects.

• Complete design and begin remodeling of county facilities, including the Farmington and Inver Glen libraries and the Judicial Center in Hastings.