Andover administrator presents 2013 budget and levy

The Andover City Council Tuesday night listened to a presentation on the 2013 budget and levy from City Administrator Jim Dickinson. No residents spoke during the public hearing.

The council will officially approve the 2013 budget and levy Dec. 18, and Dickinson said the $10,631,299 levy will be lower than was presented Tuesday evening because results of the Andover YMCA/Community Center bond refinancing had just come in. The positive results will allow the city to lower the debt service levy that is helping to pay for this building.

Dickinson said city hall tracks all phone calls it receives about the budget after Anoka County sends out the preliminary tax statements and only four people called in. Some called to say the city did a great job, while others whose taxes are going down wanted to make sure that the city was not cutting services.

“We’re still increasing expenditures,” Dickinson said. “We’re just doing a better job of managing where our revenue comes from.”

The entire tax base next year will benefit from the scheduled decertification of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District 1-1, which includes the Andover Station commercial development.

Dickinson said Andover’s overall taxable market value is actually increasing by 1.1 percent due to this TIF district recertification. Without this decertification, Andover’s taxable market value would have decreased by 3.74 percent.

This still would have been much better than the 8.8 percent and 11.7 percent taxable market value decreases Andover saw in 2011 and 2010 respectively.

Andover’s tax base will get another positive boost in 2014 when TIF District 1-2 decertifies, according to Dickinson. This covers the shopping center at the northeast corner of Bunker Lake and Round Lake boulevards.

Dickinson said property taxes are slated to fund approximately 79 percent of Andover’s general fund budget in 2013.

Expenditures for the general fund, which covers most day-to-day operations for the city, are expected to increase from the 2012 budgeted amount of $9,263,720 to $9,619,929 next year.

Dickinson said Andover and other Anoka County communities are partnering with the county to purchase new election equipment, There will be a new public works maintenance employee and more parks projects. There will be some staff salary market rate adjustments. The planning and zoning department is back to full staffing levels. The engineering department is bringing back its internship program to meet service demands.

There is a technically a decrease between 2012 and 2013 because the city’s most updated expenditure projection for 2012 is $9,777,616. The council recently approved setting aside $600,000 from the capital equipment reserve for a future park development at the northeast corner of 161st Avenue and Tulip Street. The city’s 2013-2017 capital improvement plan budgeted $800,000 for the first phase, but parks project levy revenue and donations from the youth sports associations could bridge the funding gap.

The gross city levy will be no higher than it was in 2012 ($10,631,299).

Most of the levy will go into the general fund, but somewhere around $1.9 million is for six debt service levies and approximately $1.3 million is for various other equipment, parks and trail projects.

Dickinson said there will be some large road reconstruction projects next year, including Nightingale Street from Crosstown Boulevard to 161st Avenue.

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]