12/3/2012 10:41:00 AM Byron taxes likely to increase
By David Richards
The Byron City Council discussed its proposed $1.92 million budget for 2013 at the Nov. 28 meeting held at city hall.
One resident, not counting media, future council members or law enforcement, attended the meeting, which included the annual Truth and Taxation hearing.
The hearing gives residents a chance to comment on the proposed budget.
No formal public comments were made, and the budget seems headed for approval at a council meeting in the near future.
For 2013, Byron residents would see a tax increase for the city's portion of their taxes.
The proposed levy is 5 percent higher than in 2012. A city's tax rate is calculated by its certified levy divided by its assessed market value.
In simple terms, it means that Byron residents who have a home valued at $150,000 paid an estimated $825 for the city's portion of their property taxes and will now pay an estimated $845, an increase of $20. A homeowner whose property is worth $250,000, paid $1,375 in 2012 and can expect to pay $1,408 in 2013, an increase of $33.
For more expensive homes, such as one valued at $450,000, owners paid an estimated $2,474 for 2012 and can expect to pay an estimated of $2,534 or an increase of $60.
Mary Blair-Hoeft, city administrator, presented the proposed budget, which has been recommended by the city's finance committee, in a power point presentation.
She said that one of the reasons for the increase is that for 2013, Byron is juggling roughly 50 percent debt to 50 percent operating funds. Ideally, she said, if you were a typical resident with 50 percent debt to 50 percent operating funds, you would want the debt percentage lower, and so does the city.
Barb Pehler-Williams, the lone resident to attend the hearing, said she feels the increase is fair.
"I think it's very reasonable," she said and added that she attended the meeting to be more informed as she is recently retired.
Even with the increase, Blair-Hoeft said, Byron's proposed tax rate, at 56.31, is well below many of the surrounding communities of similar size.
Cannon Falls' proposed rate, for instance, is 82.36, while Chatfield's is 84.81. Stewartville, Eyota, Zumbrota, Pine Island, Kasson and Dodge Center's rates are all higher as well, although St. Charles' is lower, at 40.80.
The highlighted differences between the 2012 and 2013 budgets include revenues of local government aid. The 2012 budget was at $135,120, while the 2013 budget is at $136,035.
Other items in the proposed 2013 budget include a 3 percent wage increase for all staff (pending review); a 3 percent law enforcement increase for 2013; the benefits and wages of the previous building official ($81,500) as well as the building revenues; the street department has $10,000 in for crack sealing and $75,000 in for seal coat, which was not in 2012; the Emergency Operating Department has $2,000 in it compared to $3,000 for 2012; the 2011 street bond has an interest payment due of $59,000; and there is also an allowance added in payroll for the pending union negotiations.
Highlights of the budget can be found on the City of Byron's Web Site, www.byronmn.com, under city government, then council agendas, then packets for Nov. 28.