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Truth in taxation hearing Dec. 7

There are only a few certainties in life and taxes are one of them. While you're going to have to pay them, you can say something about the way your money gets spent.

The city will hold its Truth in Taxation meeting at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at city hall. The meeting, while dry, will give residents the chance to have their say about the 2011 budget and levies.

Finance director Jeff May said he and city administrator Dwight Johnson will begin the meeting by giving a brief presentation on the budget and levies. After the council has the chance to ask questions, the floor will be opened to the public for comment.

The preliminary budget was set in September. The result will be a $61 cut in the city's share of the taxes for the owner of a $212,000 home, the median home value in Rosemount. The tax reduction is in addition to a $77 decrease adopted for 2010.

The principal reasons for the decrease are declining home values, significant reductions in city debt for the second straight year, a citywide review and prioritization of the levels of service and ongoing improvements in efficiency.

The council started its budget discussion a month early this year to allow more time to figure out ways to maintain or reduce the burden on residents. May said the council explored ways to cut services to save money. The exercise led to $90,000 worth of cuts, which included the elimination of a program to take in stray cats, cutting back on the amount of herbicide and pesticide it uses on city turf, reducing the number of newsletters and brochures that go out and other items.

The biggest and decision the council made came earlier this year when it cut a staff person from the community development department. Building inspector Todd Sutter lost his job in June due to the cuts. The cut will save the city more than $40,000.

The council justified the cut because the department's workload has been low for the last couple of years due to the down housing market.

"Some people won't notice changes, others will but the basic service levels will remain the same," said May.

While the council can change the way it spends money, it has no control over the value of property in the city. Dakota County determined those earlier in the year.

May said residents with concerns about the valuation of their home should contact the Dakota County Assessor's Office.

After taking comments from the public the council will vote to set the amount the city will collect in 2011 in property taxes.

For more information about the meeting contact city finance director Jeff May at 651-423-4411.

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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