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October 21, 2017

9/21/2017 3:41:00 PM
North Branch votes 4-1 on levy

The full North Branch Council accepted the maximum levy for the proposed city 2018 budget on a 4-1 vote last week. Council member Robert Canada was opposed. He first clarified with Financial Director Richard Hill, that this is a “ceiling” and as a maximum, the council can’t go any higher, correct? Council is allowed to reduce the levy before final adoption in December. Then Canada voted no.

The levy is an increase of $328,312 from 2017 or about seven percent.  This would not necessarily  equate to a seven percent hike on your individual property tax, however.   The impact depends on your property valuation increasing, staying the same or decreasing, and rate you are taxed at.

Council member Kathy Blomquist commented, “A lot of people focus on percentages” adding that people would even be sympathetic for a higher levy, if they understood the decisions council had to consider for cutting some details to arrive at a budget.

Mayor Kirsten Hagen Kennedy observed council had “far ranging” opinions on what this levy ought to be and stressed this is the maximum used for calculating county property tax statements, and between now and December there is opportunity for reductions.

The public truth in taxation hearing is Thursday, November 30.

The final 2018 levy vote is in early December.

North Branch revenue is making a comeback as valuations reverse their decline after the real estate recession and as new properties are occupied.  North Branch has issued 25 new residential permits year-to-date as of the end of August and two new commercial permits.

Total city tax income has grown from a low of approximately $2 million actual in 2014 to a projected $3.1 million for next year and is at an expected $2.6 million in 2017, according to materials provided on spreadsheets for council.

Likewise delinquent taxes were reported at a high of $101,000 in 2011 and this budget projects delinquent taxes in 2018 at $34,000.

Council was reminded of the broadband/Internet community meeting at city hall September 21.  The public is encouraged to come and express support or opposition for efforts being looked into by city officials to enhance broadband, using city resources to leverage outside monies.  The meeting is set for two hours from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The council also approved amending an ordinance on allowing conditional use permits for “child care” centers to include care centers serving any age clientele, ie: adult day and respite care.

One more note: the town lighting event for the winter holidays is December 2.


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AnnMarie Brink - US Bank

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