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City's share of taxes could go down

While there are some unknowns still out there the City of Rosemount's budget is looking pretty good. And for the second year in a row residents will likely see a decrease on their share of the burden.

"It is generally positive," said city administrator Dwight Johnson of the budget. "We've found ways to save."

With the current numbers and estimates the city's property tax levy would decline by $214,368. That means residents with a median value home - $212,600 -will pay $46 less in 2011. That is in addition to a $77 reduction for 2010.

The council started its budget discussion a month early this year to try and figure out ways to maintain or reduce the burden on residents. Johnson said the council went through an exercise to see where services could be cut to save money. The exercise led to $90,000 worth of cuts, which include cutting out taking 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 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 slow housing market.

Another big cut included the city changing its liability insurance to a higher deductible plan. Over a number of years, the city has accumulated a balance of about $550,000 in the insurance fund. The fund provided an opportunity to restructure the city's liability insurance with a different, high-deductible plan. The change will save the city more than $30,000 a year.

There are still some unknowns which could affect the city's budget. Johnson said they are anticipating a health insurances costs to go up 10 percent but it could be more. Additionally the city has not received all it's numbers from the county yet. Those numbers should come in soon.

The council hopes to pass its preliminary budget on Sept. 7. After the council sets its preliminary levy it can't exceed that number when passing the final budget.

The city has set its Truth in Taxation meeting for Dec. 7.

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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