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2022 tax levy and budget on deck for Bemidji City Council tonight

Budget season is underway for local governments, including the city of Bemidji. On Monday, the Bemidji City Council will be given a preview of 2022 finances, including possible tax levy options.

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BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji City Council will get its first look at what it can expect for the 2022 tax levy during its meeting tonight, Aug. 9.

A financial management review is scheduled to take place during the council's work session, where city staff will present options for the preliminary tax levy. The preliminary tax levy is set by the council in September, and in the weeks after changes can be made to decrease the levy, but not increase it before the final vote in December.

According to city documents, the 2022 levy is expected to increase by $378,000, or 5.8%, over the 2021 amount set at $6.5 million. The levy increase is based on a projected revenue increase of $420,000 and a rise in expenses by $798,000 next year.

When accounting for new construction the levy impact will be valued at 4.8%. Should the previewed levy be approved in December, a $139,000 household would experience a tax increase of $117 while a $383,000 business would have a $706 increase.

One aspect contributing to the rise in expenses is personnel costs. The city's union contracts expire at the end of the year and a cost of living increase of $179,000 is anticipated. Additionally, new positions such as an assistant city manager, an assistant mechanic and deputy fire chief also make up some of the expense increase.

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Along with the 2022 tax levy, the council is also scheduled to discuss capital maintenance needs at the Sanford Center. The city-owned event facility is expected to require $1.4 million for its capital needs.

The council will also review future items not yet budgeted for the city. They include:

  • City building maintenance and upgrades, estimated at $240,000.
  • Park improvements, estimated at $175,000.
  • Tourist Information Center staffing at $100,000.
  • A reduction in street funding by $40,000.
  • Potential costs for the redevelopment of the Railroad Corridor area near Bemidji's downtown.

The work scheduled is set for 5:30 p.m. tonight, Aug. 9, at Bemidji City Hall. The meeting can also be viewed online at the City of Bemidji website.

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