City Council Ways & Means Committee moves 2022 tax levy forward at 8%

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    The Crookston City Council Ways & Means Committee came to a consensus this week to move forward with an 8% tax levy on the 2022 budget after a lengthy discussion that included some of the changes that were made to get there and the impact it will have on residential homesteads and businesses. Another part of the discussion was the concern that the council has not yet received up-to-date actual numbers from 2021 nor have they seen 2020’s final numbers. City Administrator Amy Finch says she and city staff haven’t liked that they’re still dealing with 2020 entries and they will have transfers to bring forward to the council for approval before she can publicly present the actuals.

    At-Large Council Member Wayne Melbye asked Finch if getting the report of the actuals by the first of the month (December) was reasonable so the council would have “a dozen days” to look it over before their December 13 meeting, which is also the date for the Truth in Taxation hearing, and Finch said she would make every effort to get that in front of them.

    Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson said at the end of the day when they get into next year’s budget they need to have the information to make those decisions and later said he was nervous to “stick his neck out” and say that 8% was “great” without that information.

    “To do the budget you need all the information and to be able to go to the public at the end of the day and say ‘this is why’,” Erickson explained. “At any time this year did no one on this council know what an up-to-date budget was.”

CHANGES AND IMPACT

    Some of the changes made to accommodate the reduction from September’s proposed 10% tax levy to the now 8% included removing $10,000 from the fire department’s budget that was earmarked for a water rescue craft which will be deferred to the 2023 CIP (Capitol Improvement Project) budget, plus changing the amount potentially taken out of city’s reserves from $250,000 to $290,000. The Crookston Police Department’s ADA security camera project was also impacted by a reduction of approximately $6,100.

    At 8%, the estimated impact on a household with a home valued at $150,000 would be a total of $776.65 annually or $64.72 monthly. A commercial business valued at $200,000 would be impacted by an estimated total of $1,999.14 annually or $166.59 monthly.