Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Commissioner cites good work

  • But Frans says cities like Crookston need to stay on their toes
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  • The City of Crookston, represented by city council members and Mayor Dave Genereux, had a visit from Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans on Friday afternoon at City Hall. He was there to discuss the rebuilding of the partnership between state and local governments that led to the city proposing no increase in its 2014 property tax levy. The Governor and legislature enacted state paid tools to assist local governments in lowering their property taxes in 2014 including:
    - $140 million increase for Homestead Credit Refunds and Renter's Credits
    - $129 million in sales tax exemptions for cities and counties
    - $80 million increase in Local Government Aid
    - $40 millions increase in County Program Aid
    - $10 million increase in Township Aid
    - School aid increase
    Commissioner Frans mentioned, "We are here to help build partnership and stabilize budgets. I want to congratulate Crookston on all the good work they've been doing."
    "We appreciate the support and work from the state. Not just one party, but both parties," said Mayor Dave Genereux.
    Frans went on to talk about Local Government Aid and said, "Local Government Aid not always there. Got a good recovery going. It's a slow recovery, but it's good."
    "Without LGA, we'd lose local businesses. They'd go somewhere else with lower taxes," agreed Mayor Genereux.
    District 1B State Rep. Deb Kiel, also in attendnance, added, "Being so close to North Dakota can make it a problem for northwest Minnesota."
    "There are concerns for people going to buy cigarettes and then they get their gas while they're there. They are keeping business away from Minnesota. It is tough for sister cities like Grand Forks/East Grand Forks, Fargo / Moorhead, Wahpeton/Breckinridge, etc.," said District 1 Polk County Commissioner Craig Buness. "Also, the counties are in danger of losing people because we get compared to bigger cities when looking at levees."
    Frans also mentioned that, "North Dakota could become like Alaska (talking about no property taxes) so it is important to be on our toes. We are faced with the difficulty of businesses moving across the river."
    The group did talk about how well Crookston and surrounding cities are doing with jobs and home developments.
    "Crookston is fairly close to N.D. Some people commute to Thief River Falls to DigiKey, so citizens are willing to drive," Kiel said. "Even the traffic on the backroads from Grand Forks to Crookston was busy."
    City Finance Director Angel Hoeffner added, "Our Eickhof and Evergreen developments have been a great thing for Crookston. Those areas are all full."
    Commissioner Frans thanked everyone for coming together to meet him and hopes Crookston continues to excel.
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