BAXTER - Seven people showed up Monday night at Baxter City Hall to hear how the city plans to spend its money next year.
A few spoke up during the public informational hearing on the proposed 2010 city budget and property tax levy, saying that the city should cut more because of the tough economic times.
Baxter's 2010 proposed levy is $4,463,000 - $150,517 lower than the levy limit. It represents a 2.47 percent levy increase from last year.
For a $150,000 homesteaded Baxter residence, total property taxes for 2010 will be $1,246. Of that, $547 would be city taxes, an increase of $27 from 2009.
Jeremy Vacinek, city finance director, said the proposed 2010 statements sent by Crow Wing County last week include the preliminary levy set by the city council on Sept. 15. The council has since decreased that amount by $80,500, so the city's portion of the tax liability also will decrease.
Vacinek said that the $136,300 levy increase is $63,000 less than the $199,800 the city lost in state aid revenue for 2010.
Total residential tax capacity rate increased by 4.513 percent and the total commercial tax capacity rate increased by 4.564 percent.
For 2010, the city had $14.4 million in new market value added to the city - 44.96 percent in commercial/industrial, 8.03 percent in homesteaded residential and 47.01 percent in other residential, which includes apartments. In comparison, the city had new market value of $23.9 million added for 2009, $29.5 million in 2008, $49.5 million in 2007, $44.3 million in 2006 and $32.6 million in 2005.
The city's 2010 proposed budget is $5,088,000.
2010 budget changes include an average 5 percent water rate increase effective with February usage, which will be used to cover debt payments on the water treatment plant, and an average 2.7 percent sewer increase, effective with February usage. The sewer rate adjustment is based on a rate study and cash flow model completed with the financing of the expanded wastewater facility shared with Brainerd Public Utilities.
Some residents at Monday's meeting said the city should cut back on several items, including $6,000 for two laptop computers for building inspectors, $12,200 for an accessibility trail at Loren Thompson Park and $10,500 for two sets of bleachers, for example.
Mayor Darrel Olson said the city has cut back, laying off a person in the building inspection department and not replacing two to three vacant positions.
When asked if city staff have received wage increases this year, the council said city staff will get a 3 percent wage increase in 2010. Two years ago, the council negotiated with its union a 3-year-contract, which expires at the end of 2010.
The city council is expected to approve the 2010 budget and proposed 2010 levy at its regular council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Baxter City Hall.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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