City lowers tax levy $31,280

The Princeton City Council has decided to set next year’s tax levy at $2.19 million, a reduction of $31,280 from this year’s levy of $2.22 million.

The council had originally considered keeping the 2013 levy the same as for 2012. But when council members realized that the value of property citywide has decreased for taxes payable 2013, it decided on the levy reduction. If the council did not go with the levy reduction, then the tax rate used in calculating a parcel’s property tax, would rise 1.42 percent to end up at a rate of 87.21. The current tax rate is at 85.99.

Under the new levy plan that the council approved last Thursday, the general fund budget proposed for next year would be $1.19 million, a $68,820 increase over this year’s general fund budget of $1.13 million. The council had considered a general fund budget next year of $1.23 million before deciding to decrease the levy in 2013.

Council member Thom Walker did ask city treasurer Steve Jackson, prior to the council passing the motion to decrease the levy, about his thoughts on the city being able to get by with less levy. “I’ve no preference one way or another,” Walker said about the options of keeping the 2013 levy the same as this year or decreasing it. Walker then added that he was concerned the council could go over budget in its expenditures if something should emerge that was an unforeseen expense. “But that’s what the reserve is for,” Walker said.

“Barring something unforeseen, I think we’ll be OK if we brought it (the levy) back down.”


Property valuation changes

The council decided to reduce the levy last Thursday after originally  considering the idea at a previous meeting. The decision to follow through came after city treasurer Steve Jackson showed the council information from the auditor-treasurer offices in Mille Lacs and Sherburne counties, last Thursday, on changes in property valuations.

Most all of the city of Princeton is in Mille Lacs, with a small portion in the south being in Sherburne.

On the Mille Lacs side, the info shows:

• ag land dropped one percent in overall value to end up at $13,592

• residential homestead dropped 7.6 percent to total at $690,913

• residential non homestead rose 1.3 percent to end up at $281,016

• apartments rose 1.3 percent to be at $132,882

• commercial/industrial dropped 6.6 percent to end up at $482,621.

The Sherburne information was that residential values in that part of the city decreased about 10.2 percent, bare land dropped about 20 percent in value and commercial and industrial decreased about 1.2 percent.

Council member Dick Dobson, in supporting a levy reduction, said: “Anything we can do to help the commercial and industrial in the industrial park.” That’s especially so after the “big hit” commercial and industrial property owners in the city took for taxes payable this year, Dobson said.

Mayor Jeremy Riddle noted that while the valuation stayed the same for his Princeton Animal Hospital located south of city limits in Baldwin Township, his proposed property taxes for next year are $1,000 higher than this year’s.

All the government jurisdictions and school districts will finalize their levy this month and it is not uncommon for boards to decrease the actual levy from the maximum that they had certified for possible passage.