Tax levy increase proposed in SLP

As the Spring Lake Park City Council and staff continue to adjust the city’s 2014 budget, council members agreed to increase the property tax levy at their Sept. 3 meeting.

The council approved a preliminary tax levy of $2,751,330, up 6.27 percent from this year.

The tax levy for general fund will only increase .85 percent at $2,610,930, but the added 2013 general obligation equipment certificate debt of $140,400 will see the levy go up that much more.

At the same time, the council plans to cancel two bond levies for 2014, a 2005 general capital improvement fire bond for $52,711 and a 2009 general obligation refunding bond of $315,000. The money can be found in existing revenues, the resolution canceling the bonds stated.

In his presentation, Assistant Administrator Dan Buchholtz said that when drafting the 2015 budget in August 2014, the council would need to find alternate funding for the fire bond. The money could come from “reinstating the debt service levy, using [Local Government Aid] or a combination of the two,” according to a memo to the council from Buchholtz Sept. 3.

The tax levy remains lower than it was in 2012; in 2013, the levy decreased more than 20 percent.

There was no discussion about the tax levy at the Sept. 3 meeting.

“It’s a pretty status-quo budget,” said Buchholtz in an interview after the meeting.

“There really wasn’t controversy,” even in the workshop three weeks earlier, he said.

The annual Truth in Taxation public hearing will occur on Dec. 2, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Spring Lake Park City Hall after the council will approve the final tax levy and budget for 2014.

The preliminary levy cannot be increased, but the council can reduce the levy.

Olivia Koester is at [email protected]