Independence sets Dec. 5 Truth in Tax hearing

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Property owners in Independence will get the chance to learn about and comment on the city’s proposed final General Fund budget for 2018, along with the proposed final 2018 property tax levy at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Independence City Hall, 1920 County Road 90.

During the regular City Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 15, the Independence City Council set the hearing date and also conducted other business.

State statutes require Independence to certify its preliminary General Fund budget for 2018 and preliminary 2018 property tax levy to Hennepin County by the end of September. The county will incorporate the information into property tax notices that will arrive in citizens’ mailboxes in November. The notices will show an individual’s likely 2018 property tax bill, based upon preliminary property tax amounts for the city, school district, county, watershed districts and other local jurisdictions.

Independence must certify its final 2018 General Fund Budget and property tax levy to the county by the end of the year. The final budget and property tax figures can be equal to or lower than the preliminary figures, but not higher.

At the Independence public hearing on Dec. 5, city staff will explain the proposed final city 2018 General Fund budget, which would fund Independence’s operating expenses in 2018. Staff also will explain the proposed property tax levy, which would pay for 2018 installments on city debt and the bulk of 2018 General Fund expenses. Citizens will be asked for questions and comments.

The City Council could pass the final 2018 General Fund budget and property tax levy at its 6:30 p.m. regular meeting on Dec. 5 or at its regular 6:30 p.m. meeting on Dec. 19.

Independence’s 2018 budget process began this spring, when property owners received notices of their property valuations for taxes payable in 2018. Property owners had the opportunity to protest their property valuations at the city Board of Appeals and Adjustment.

Then city staff and the City Council began working on costs for operating the city and putting them into a line item budget. At the same time, the city compiled 2018 sources of revenue and calculated the necessary 2018 property tax levy. Taxpayers can contact City Hall between now and September to comment on what they want added to or removed from the preliminary budget.

The City Council approved a large assembly permit for the Running of the Bays Half Marathon and 5K Fun Run on Sept. 9. Competitors will step off near Grandview Middle School in Mound and finish at the Bethel Methodist Church in downtown Mound. The race route will follow portions of County Roads 15, 110, 19, 51 and 84, some of which are located in Independence.

The 5K Family Fun Run is for all ages and paces. Strollers are welcome at the back of the 5K start.

At a previous meeting, Jason Sievers asked the City Council to approve a variance that would allow him to construct a home and garage addition attached to his existing house. The council directed city staff to draft an approval resolution and findings of fact and bring them back to the Aug. 15 council meeting.

City Administrator Mark Kaltsas explained the approval resolution, and the council passed it.

The Sievers property is located on 2.37 acres at 1180 County Road 83 in the Rural Residential zoning district. Sievers asked for a variance that would enable him to locate the northern edge of a house and garage addition 24 feet from his north property line, rather than the required 30 feet.

The City Council also approved the second quarter report of Independence’s finances, submitted by the accounting firm Abdo, Eick and Meyers.

During the meeting the Council also approved the purchase of the Banyon accounting software at a cost of $10,980. Independence’s current software provider will no longer support the city’s current version of its financial software.

Lastly, the City Council approved a contract between Independence and Municode under which Municode would codify city ordinances and host them online. The cost for three years is $4,841.