City tax levy to increase by 1.5 percent: Lower revenues, increased health insurance costs affect 2013 proposal

Less revenue and increased health insurance costs mean a slight levy increase in the proposed 2013 Stillwater city budget, according to preliminary numbers presented to the City Council at a budget workshop Tuesday.

At that budget meeting, city officials said the 2013 levy would rise by 1.56 percent from this year’s levy.

“We ended up with a 1.561 percent increase from last year’s levy and that’s because there were significant revenue reductions, and it included things we couldn’t control like our retiree health insurance has increased by $82,846,” said City Administrator Larry Hansen. “This also includes money for the community development plan as well.”

The main reason for the revenue reduction is fewer engineering projects as land begins to run out for subdivision projects in the city, Mayor Ken Harycki said.

The community development plans include $25,000 that will be paid out over the next three years for studies related to the new St. Croix River Crossing project. Another $25,000 will be paid into the project during the following year.

“When this bridge gets built it opens a bunch of opportunities and most of that budget will be there for traffic pattern studies,” Hansen said. “We want to get ahead of these studies as the bridge is being built so we have a better understanding of those things for after the bridge is finished.”

Hansen said the Stillwater Public Library budget was one area city staff spent a lot of time on. This was also the only budget that was cut, he added.

“We took a small cut from their budget of $3,895. Out a budget that is one million plus, it isn’t too much and is very minimal.” Hansen said. “All other budgets were accepted as presented and all capital requirements were accepted as presented which I was very pleased with.”

Hansen expects the council to approve the levy at their next meeting Tuesday.