City Council approves tax levy increase, but homeowners will actually pay less, officials say
BEMIDJI--The tax levy, budget and other business for 2018 received action from the Bemidji City Council on Monday. The final tax levy, which was presented for approval following a hearing, was set at $5,752,739, equaling a $372,992 or 6.9 percent...
BEMIDJI-The tax levy, budget and other business for 2018 received action from the Bemidji City Council on Monday.
The final tax levy, which was presented for approval following a hearing, was set at $5,752,739, equaling a $372,992 or 6.9 percent increase from 2017. According to data provided by City Finance Director Ron Eischens, the percentage increase came in just ahead of the statewide average at 6.8 percent.
While technically an increase, though, the city will experience an effective tax decrease of 2.1 percent. This, Eischens said, is because of value from new construction and the decertification of the Irvingboro tax increment district. Information released by Eischens showed that because of the effective tax decrease, a $132,000 home owner paying $20 less, for example.
The levy received approval from the council through a unanimous vote.
Work by the council Monday comes two weeks after officials held the annual truth-in-taxation hearing. During that hearing, Eischens laid out how the tax levy will impact residents as well as businesses. Another example Eischens gave was a $363,000 business owner paying $140 less.
The 2018 budget, meanwhile, was set at $34 million by the council, marking a $4.2 million or 11 percent decrease from last year. The decrease is a result of the city having a bond payment decrease for work done on Birchmont Drive as well as paying less for utility costs which is also tied to overall bond payments.
The other subject related to next year was the street renewal program. The annual program, which repairs various sections of city streets each year, includes 1.7 miles of roadway in 2018.
Projects in 2018 include:
• Paving Bardwell Drive Northwest on the Anne Street loop, which is currently gravel.
• On Richards Avenue Southeast, from First Street to Fourth Street, an existing gravel street will be paved while adding a curb and gutter. Plus, it will connect to the existing storm water sewer installed in anticipation for the project
• For 24th Street Northwest from Irvine Avenue to Bemidji Avenue, the road will be completely reconstructed with new pavement, curb, gutter and driveway aprons. Existing water mains and services will also be replaced. The project will narrow the road to 34 feet wide from existing 39 feet to allow for a 5-foot concrete sidewalk on the south side, too.
• On 23rd Street Northwest from Park Avenue to Irvine Avenue, the road will be completely reconstructed with new pavement, curb, gutter and driveway aprons. Also, a new water main will be installed.
• On 14th Street Northwest from Delton Avenue to Park Avenue, the road will be completely reconstructed with new pavement, curb, gutter and driveway aprons. The existing sanitary sewer and water mains will be replaced as well.
• For Minnesota Avenue from 26th Street to 29th Street, the road will undergo a complete reconstruction and water main replacement. The project will also narrow the road to 35 feet wide from the existing 40 feet to add a new 5-foot concrete sidewalk on the east side.
The 2018 program is estimated to cost $1,942,369 and will be paid for by a combination of street levy funds, utility funds and assessments. After a presentation, the council approved the recommended projects and authorized staff to prepare plans and specifications.
Another agenda item related to the city's Public Works Department was the five-year capital improvement plan for 2018-2022. The expenditures and funding sources for next year's items in the plan have been included as part of the city's budget.
For the next five years, the plan shows anticipated construction projects of $19 million and equipment purchases totaling $6 million, with the operation of the city at more than $25 million for the next five years. After a discussion, the plan was adopted via resolution.