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Pequot Lakes tax levy to drop .34 percent in 2013

Unlike in recent years, the Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 4, unanimously passed the 2013 budget and general revenue tax levy with no discussion.

The general revenue tax levy is $1,458,000, plus a $28,432 tax abatement levy, bringing the total levy amount to $1,486,432. That’s 0.34 percent less ($5,094) than the 2012 total levy, which was $1,491,526.

Historically, council members Tom Ryan and Jerry Akerson have opposed any budget and levy increases. In Ryan’s last council meeting after not being re-elected in November, he had no comments regarding the budget and levy. Nor did anyone else.

The levy reduction comes from re-organization of city office staff, elimination of part-time police officers, a decrease in overtime hours, a decrease in capital outlay for roads and streets, and other miscellaneous items.

The city’s tax abatement levy pertains to the Pequot Lakes Supervalu project. This is the second of 13 years for that levy. Before the store was built, the city agreed to abate the city’s portion of taxes on the increased value of the development back to the developer from 2012-24.

The council also approved the HRA budget and levy at $38,250, the same as this year.

A committee met several times since the council approved a preliminary budget and levy of $1,563,362 in September to lower the budget and tax levy. After reducing the levy to $1,454,000 by November, the council approved a slightly higher levy ($4,000 more) after considering 2013 police contracts.

Mayor Nancy Adams pointed out that tax statements residents recently received in the mail reflect that preliminary levy, which now has been reduced and should lower property taxes.

Both the general city tax rate and rural service tax rates increased — by 0.838 percent (from 74.466 percent to 75.304 percent) for the general city tax rate and by 0.421 percent (from 37.780 percent to 38.201 percent) for the rural service tax rate.

Tax rates are calculated by dividing the property tax levy the city sets by the total tax base that the county determines every year.

In a presentation, city finance director Nancy Malecha listed other factors that could increase a resident’s property taxes. Those included a levy increase for the county, city or township, school district and special taxing districts; property market values; property classification changes; and a decrease in total market values for the county, city or township.

The HRA budget is funded through a special levy.

In the end, the council approved the 2013 tax levy fund budgets and levy, 2013 special revenue fund budgets, 2013 enterprise fund budgets and the 2013 HRA budget and levy unanimously.

No one spoke during a public hearing regarding the budget and tax levy.

The council also approved a 1.25 percent cost-of-living increase for 2013 non-union employees.