Rising values aid Bayport budget

Fewer bid expenses, tax rate drop good news for city’s taxpayers

Martin,LoganBAYPORT — A combination of rising home values, more state aid and no major capital purchases in 2014 means Bayport residents will see a slight decrease in the city tax rate under a preliminary levy and budget approved by the City Council Tuesday.

The city’s proposed 2014 budget is $3.033 million and the 2014 levy is $1.163 million. The city tax rate next year is 41.97 percent, a 2.14 percent reduction from this year’s 43.9 percent tax rate.

Bayport’s 2014 revenue is comprised of more than $2.738 million in the general and $294,950 in the Bayport Public Library funds. The general fund receives slightly more than $1 million and the library fund $160,000 from the 2014 levy.

The overall 2014 budget is almost $360,000 less that this year’s $3.391 million budget, but the 2014 levy is slightly more than $3,272 more than this year’s $1.159 million budget.

“It’s as close to flat as the city could get,” said City Administrator Logan Martin.
The lower city tax rate means many homeowners should see no change or a slight drop in their city tax next year. Martin said the owner of a Bayport home valued at $150,000 could see their tax reduced by about $30.

There are several factors that affected Bayport’s 2014 budget, according to memo from Martin to the council.

“Specifically, the city’s property tax base will rise nearly 12 percent in 2014, which is well beyond the pace shown county-wide of a 2 percent increase,” Martin writes.

That increase in property value is good news for homeowners and the city, Martin said.
“As the market rebounds, we are seeing value return to Bayport,” he said.

Another budget benefit to the city’s 2014 budget is more state aid, Martin said.
“Further, the city will receive a larger disbursement of Local Government Aid in 2014 due to legislative changes enacted during the 2013 session, thus reducing the need to levy additional taxes to provide consistent or increased services,” he said in his memo.

Bayport’s overall 2014 city budget is less than this year’s budget due to the absence of “large capital expenditures that were planned for and completed in 2013 that will not be re-occurring in 2014,” Martin said. He added that fewer large expenditures lets the city invest in parks, roads and public safety services.

“We were able to bump up funding to the Parks Department for maintenance,” he said. “This budget has more savings for Perro Park.”

The 2014 budget also raises Bayport Fire Department firefighter pay to $12 per call from $11 per call in an effort to retain volunteer personnel, Martin said.

“As stated at the preliminary budget workshop on Aug. 20, the city is in strong financial standing and is well positioned coming out of the recent recession to continue providing a high quality of life for its residents,” he said in the council memo.

The preliminary levy the council set Tuesday is the maximum proposed by the city. The council cannot raise the levy, but it can lower it prior to final approval of the levy and budget in December.

Martin said the council will hold a public hearing on the 2014 budget and levy Dec. 2.
“We don’t foresee any changes (to the levy or budget) between now and then,” he said.

Contact Erik Sandin at erik.sandin@ecm-inc.com