Rail authority will spend less, but tax a little more

The Anoka County Regional Rail Authority plans to spend slightly less in 2014 than this year, but the proposed tax levy will be a bit higher.

The rail authority, which comprises the seven members of the Anoka County Board, has approved a preliminary 2014 tax levy and budget.

Final action on the tax levy and budget will be taken by the rail authority at its Dec. 6 meeting following a public hearing the evening before, Dec. 5.

The preliminary budget for 2014 is $2,646,836 compared with $2,651,628 this year.

But the preliminary tax levy at $2,332,510 is more than the $2,022,976 levied for 2013.

The reason is that fewer reserve dollars will be used to reduce the levy than in the previous two years.

In 2012, $640,257 of the rail authority’s reserves was earmarked to reduce the levy and for 2013, it was $628,652.

For 2014, the reserves that will be used as a funding source for the rail authority budget are proposed at $314,326.

According to Tim Yantos, rail authority executive director, there is less money in the reserve account now because the reserves have been used to reduce the property tax impact of the rail authority’s budget the past two years.

The bulk of the rail authority’s budget is for debt service, some $2.2 million, which is Anoka County’s annual share to pay off the bonds sold for the Northstar Commuter Rail project, Yantos said.

“There are no new initiatives in the budget,” he said.

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

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