BAXTER -- Five people attended Monday night's taxation hearing in Baxter, which lasted about an hour.
It was a substantial increase compared to last year when just one person attended the hearing.
At the session, Baxter Finance Director Jeremy Vacinek discussed the numbers the city is looking at for a 2004 final property tax levy. The final levy recommended for the coming year is $3,049,734. The city has a tax capacity of $7,814,489 or a city tax capacity rate of 39.027 percent.
In dollars and cents that means the revised levy, which was reduced from an earlier proposed levy, has a $130,000 estimated market value home paying city taxes (not including the homestead credit) of $507.
The same home's total 2004 taxes with the homestead credit and including proposed county taxes and the school referendum would equal $1,066.
In this revised levy scenario, a Baxter home with an estimated market value of $76,000 would pay $297 in 2004 city taxes (not including the homestead credit) and $468 in total taxes using the same example as above. A home with an estimated market value of $180,000 would pay $702 in city taxes and $1,619 in total taxes. A commercial/industrial property with an estimated market value of $200,000 would pay $1,268 in city taxes and $5,000 in total taxes.
Property taxes account for 56.3 percent of Baxter's 2004 general, special revenue and enterprise funds budget. Other revenues come from license permits (8.8 percent), charges for services (27.2 percent), bond proceeds (4.2 percent) and the rest comes from small percentages in intergovernmental revenue, interest earnings and miscellaneous revenues.
The budget takes into account additional personnel, including two more police officers. One was originally planned for 2003 while the other is contingent upon the Brainerd School District reimbursement as a school liaison officer and would start in September. Other additions include a full-time assistant city planner and an additional building inspector along with $20,000 for an inspection vehicle.
Vacinek listed 2004 budget highlights in a Power Point presentation.
* $167,800 contracted with the city of Brainerd for fire protection in 2004, an increase of $28,824 from 2003.
* $55,000 for squad car and Explorer replacements.
* $30,000 for storm water pond maintenance.
* $20,000 capital outlay for street lights at the Highway 210 intersections at Meredith, Memorywood, Elder and Inglewood roads.
* $28,500 trails fund for maintenance and construction.
* $25,100 for economic development fund.
* $43,500 for capital parks projects fund.
* $31,300 for the recycling fund, which includes curbside recycling reimbursements to haulers, spring and fall leaf-drop-off site and oil and antifreeze recycling center.
* 2004 park improvement projects include $26,000 for play equipment at Berrywood Park along with $6,000 for walking path and $28,000 for restrooms. Other expenditures are expected to include $9,500 for the Whipple Beach pavilion. At Oscar Kristofferson Park expenditures are expected to include $21,000 for parking lot if the utility project is approved and $5,700 for bleachers. Spending of $10,000 is for a parks and recreation facility study and $200,000 is for the purchase of additional park land.
* $81,144 for unanticipated expenditures in the contingency fund.
* $39,000 for capital outlay for server, geographic information system and scanning enhancements and color printer.
* $4,100 for expanded election equipment.
Baxter's 2004 maximum levy limitation is $2,444,834. Baxter's local government aid of $127,743 was permanently eliminated in 2003. Market Value Credit was temporarily reduced by $112,083 for 2003 and the same amount is expected for 2004. The total state aid reduction was $329,826. The state is allowing cities to levy back 60 percent of those reductions. For Baxter, that means $143,896.
Baxter's tax capacity composition is 57 percent commercial/industrial, 37 percent homestead, 2 percent farm/other and 4 percent other.
The next meeting of the Baxter City Council is 7 p.m. today at city hall.
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