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Lake Shore: Council adopts increased tax levy, budget for 2022

Property taxes to rise 14.7% as city continues to tackle road improvement projects

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Lake Shore property owners will see the city share of their property taxes rise 14.7% from this year after the city council approved a property tax levy of $1,716,877 for 2022 at its regular meeting Monday, Dec. 20.

This number includes the general fund operating tax levy of $1,557,697 plus the general obligation improvement bonds and tax abatement levy of $159,180 for 2020 street improvements.

The council also approved a 2022 budget of $1,646,073 (not including the tax abatement reduction), which is 10% higher than this year’s budget. The budget includes a 5% cost-of-living increase for city employees and $1,025 for the Initiative Foundation.

The sewer budget includes an $8.75 increase to the sewer user fee that the council previously approved. It begins in January 2022.

This is the same as the preliminary tax levy and budget the council approved in September.

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City Administrator Teri Hastings explained the city's goal to keep up with road improvements, saying that’s the biggest reason for the increases. The city bonded $1 million for road work in 2020 and is now starting to pay that back.

Changes made to the 2022 budget compared to this year’s budget, include:

  • Reducing revenue by approximately $5,000 by eliminating forfeitures for police ($1,000); reducing fines from $5,000 to $3,000; reducing special assessments from $8,000 to $5,000; and reducing interest by $3,300. There were some increases in revenue.

  • Increasing capital outlay by $64,000. This includes a $50,000 increase for road projects. Based on the preliminary capital improvement plan for roads, a target of $496,080 is estimated for road projects. In addition, there may be a petition for Portview Road East improvements.

Other significant increases for capital outlay include $10,000 for public improvements.

  • A 5% cost-of-living increase for employees based on a poll of surrounding communities. The Consumer Price Index for the Midwest region is 5.9%.

  • A 5.4% increase in the Pine River Area Sanitary District (sewer) contract.

  • Budgeting $450 for an audit.

  • An increase of $1,000 for liability insurance. In the renewal, cyber security coverage was $500,000. And values increased after a review of all city property (including lift stations).

  • Workers compensation insurance increased 13.5%, and 20% for police.

  • Budgeting an additional $15,000 to buy a new mower.

  • Bonding increased from $130,000 to $163,000.

  • Budgeting $3,000 for the cemetery to convert the existing software to GIS.

  • Budgeting $10,791 for elections.

  • Budgeting increased committee pay ($5,000 for the planning commission).

Four people attended the council meeting, but no one spoke during the public’s time to ask questions about the budget and levy for 2022 before the council adopted both. Hastings also received several correspondences from residents.
Council member Henry Cote was absent Monday.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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