SLP Council supports preliminary tax levy increase

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

The Spring Lake Park property tax levy has been on the rise since 2013, and it looks like the 2018 levy will be no exception.

The Spring Lake Park City Council voted unanimously to set the 2018 preliminary property tax levy at $3.28 million, a 4.67 percent increase from 2017.

The levy can be reduced before being finalized in December, but it can not be increased.

Council discussed the budget and tax levy at an Aug. 14 workshop and voted to approve the levy with no discussion Sept. 5.

City Administrator Dan Buchholtz explained that tax levy will increase because of a position expansion within the Police Department (a part-time police receptionist will be eliminated to bring on a full-time police records management technician) and anticipated increases, primarily with proposed wage increases and rising costs for health insurance and other benefits.

Council also took action to cancel three bond levies and reduce a fourth Sept. 5.

Debt service levies on an $80,000 bond used to acquire the public works building along Highway 65, a $13,000 capital note for North Metro TV cable upgrades and a $249,589 equipment certificate for Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department equipment were canceled with enough money on hand to finance those through local government aid, public utilities funds and general fund budget allocations.

Debt service on the North Metro TV cable upgrades will be paid with franchise fees collected from North Metro TV.

Spring Lake Park’s share of the SBM equipment is about 8 percent of the $249,589, and Blaine and Mounds View will cover the rest.

“Our share is built into our general government budget,” Buchholtz said.

The debt service levy on a $224,000 improvement bond for 2014-2015 street projects was reduced to $90,000 with special assessments and state road aid covering the rest.

“Staff would recommend approval. Otherwise you will end up levying another close to half million dollars if you don’t cancel it,” Buchholtz said. That would be lead to a levy increase of more than 20 percent.

Council unanimously voted to cancel and reduce the levies without discussion.

The Truth in Taxation public hearing is set to take place during the council meeting Monday, Dec. 4. The final tax levy will be approved in December.

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