Minnetrista passes 2017 preliminary budget, levy

By Nicole Brodzik
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During their Sept. 6 council meeting, the Minnetrista City Council approved the city’s 2017 proposed budget and levy, which includes a 2.89 percent increase in the total levy figure.

Rising tax figures can cause concern from city residents, but Finance Director Brian Grimm said, for most residents, the tax increase will barely be noticeable.

“On a medium value home, most people should see only a few dollars more each month,” Grimm said. “It’s really more of an inflationary increase than anything.”

The total levy this year was approved at $4,173,110, which is $117,401 more than last years number.
The reason for the increase is twofold, according to Grimm. With extra attention being paid to Minnetrista’s roads, extra funds help cover the paving and upkeep of commonly used city streets, which is something Grimm said people have been supportive of in the past.

“We’ve done surveys and most people say if you’re going to spend a little more money, they’d prefer it be on the roads,” he said. “It’s something tangible that people can see and everyone gets a benefit from it.”

The other reason for the increase goes all the way back to 2009. With the economy in a lull, Grimm said Minnetrista lowered their total levy as an attempt to alleviate pressure for residents. In 2009, the net general levy was at $4.62 million. By 2012, that number dropped to $3.87 million, and stayed steady at that number until 2014.

Since then, Minnetrista’s levy figure has been on the rise to get the city back to where it was in 2009. The hope, according to Grimm, is to keep things steady from here on out, avoiding any more drastic increases or decreases in the levy number.

“We really want to try and keep the levy steady,” Grimm said. “We’ve talked with the council about not being on the rollercoaster of constantly moving the levy up and down. Ideally, you stay at the same level over a long period of time.”

Another point Grimm wanted to make clear was that when looking at tax increases, residents should be aware that the citywide taxes are only about a quarter of the overall tax bill.

“If you’re paying $5,000 in taxes, only a little over $1,000 of that is coming into the city,” he said.
The $4,173,110 proposed levy number is the most the city can approve when the final levy and budget is set, but the council could decide to go lower than that number down the line.

“It’s important for people to know that this is the ceiling,” Grimm said. “The city can’t raise the levy any higher than what was approved at the meeting.”

The next step for Minnetrista is to approve a final levy and budget for 2017, which will happen later this fall.