County rail authority certified levy drops 10 percent

The Anoka County Regional Rail Authority’s 2013 certified property tax levy is 10 percent below this year.

The rail authority, which comprises the seven members of the Anoka County Board, unanimously approved a levy of $2,022,976 for next year Dec. 7.

That compares with the 2012 levy of $2,247,751 and a 2011 levy of $4,244,507.

Once the fiscal disparities distribution is taken out, the certified levy drops to a net levy of $1,695,186 for 2013, compared with $1,541,358 in 2012, a 9.98 percent increase.

That’s because the fiscal disparities distribution to the rail authority is down 53.6 percent from $706,393 to $327.790.

Under the state’s fiscal disparities law, property value on commercial/industrial (C/I) land in the metropolitan region is distributed among the various local units of government.

Forty percent of the C/I growth in the property value in the metropolitan area is placed in a pool and taxed at the same rate in all of the municipalities and taxing jurisdictions, and the pool is distributed to the various jurisdictions based on state-prescribed formula.

As a result, the disparity paid between taxes paid on C/I property in high growth areas compared with low growth areas is reduced and over the years, Anoka County has been a net beneficiary.

The reduction in fiscal disparities dollars means that property taxpayers will be paying more in taxes for the rail authority than this year.

According to figures provided by Cevin Petersen, county division manager for finance and central services, the tax impact on three residential and three commercial/industrial properties is as follows:

• Home with a market value of $95,000 for taxes paid in 2012 dropping in value to $82,215, the rail authority tax increases from $3.02 to $6.61.

• Home with a market value of $157,300 for taxes paid in 2012 dropping in value to $141,098, the rail authority tax increases from $7.69 to $10.95.

• Home with a market value of $290,000 for taxes paid in 2012 dropping in value to $260,130, the rail authority tax increases from $17.63 to $20.19.

• A commercial/industry property dropping in value from $300,000 to $270,600 will see a rail authority tax increase from $34.13 to $36.18.

• A commercial/industry property dropping in value from $500,000 to $451,000 will see a rail authority tax increase from $60.14 to $64.19.

• A commercial/industry property dropping in value from $1.2 million to $1,082,400 will see a rail authority tax increase from $151.17 to $162.20.

The rail authority also approved a 2013 budget totaling $2,651,628 with $628,652 coming from reserve funds to make up the difference between the proposed expenditures and the tax levy.

According to Tim Yantos, rail authority executive director, expenditures are 8 percent below the 2012 level. Expenses in 2011 amounted to $4,244,507.

And the bulk of the that 2013 spending, $2,157,051, is the county’s share of the Northstar Commuter Rail annual debt payment for the bonds that were sold for its construction, Yantos said.

Cuts in the 2013 budget from this year include:

• $100,000 for lobbyists, eliminating that expense altogether from the 2013 budget.

• Reduction in outside professional services from $90,000 to $35,000.

• Reduction in the cost of work done for the rail authority by Anoka County departments – GIS, highway and survey – from $10,000 to $5,000.

• Cut in rail authority property maintenance from $30,000 to $6,000.

• Eliminating $33,000 in professional services for transit oriented development.

• Cut from $64,000 to $2,200 in corridor development, eliminating all funding for NLX and Highway 65 alternative analysis and allocating $2,200 for Rush Line corridor development.

• Eliminating $8,000 for a transit way impact study.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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