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Pequot Lakes: Council approves 2018 budget, levy

The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 5, unanimously approved a 2018 total tax levy of $1,637,785 which is a 2.54 percent increase over the 2017 total tax levy.

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The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 5, unanimously approved a 2018 total tax levy of $1,637,785 which is a 2.54 percent increase over the 2017 total tax levy.

The full impact to property owners includes the general revenue tax levy of $1,621,770 plus the tax abatement levy for Pequot Lakes Supervalu of $16,015, bringing the total levy amount to $1,637,785.

The council also approved the Housing and Redevelopment Authority budget and special levy of $38,250 (the same since 2012), as well as special revenue and enterprise budgets. And the council approved 3.5 percent wage increases for city employees.

One person spoke at a public hearing at city hall to learn about the proposed 2018 budgets and property tax levies.

One person spoke at the public hearing regarding the city's 2018 budget and tax levy.

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Michael Czech questioned the city's police, roads and economic development budget amounts, specifically the projected increase in spending over actual spending in 2017 in those three areas. He advocated zero-based budgeting and basing a budget on the past year's expenses.

Mayor Nancy Adams said she appreciated Czech's comments and work to present budget numbers, but she believed the council and city staff worked hard on the budget. She said there are unusual expenses for 2018.

Public works supervisor Mike Loven said he was asked to put together a budget that has a lot of future unknowns, including what exactly will happen with Trailside Park improvements.

Regarding the tax abatement levy for the Pequot Lakes Supervalu project, this will be the seventh 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.

In her presentation, city administrator/clerk Nancy Malecha noted the following reasons city residents may see an increase in property taxes:

• Levy increases for county, city or township, school district, or special taxing district.

• Property market value changes.

• Property classification changes.

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• Net tax capacity decreases for county, city or township, school district or special taxing districts.

Tax levy fund revenues are projected to total $6,539,900 for 2018, according to the following breakdown: assessments/principal/interest, 70.3 percent; tax levy, 24.9 percent; charges for services and intergovernmental revenue, each 1.7 percent; fund balance, 0.5 percent; licenses/permits, fines/forfeits, other taxes and other financing sources, all 0.2 percent.

Tax levy fund expenditures are projected to total $6,406,360 for 2018, according to the following breakdown: roads and streets, 79 percent; public safety, 11.5 percent; administration, 4.1 percent; insurance, general building and planning and zoning, all 1.4 percent; park, 0.6 percent; HRA/economic development, 0.3 percent; tax abatement, 0.2 percent; and recycling, 0.2 percent.

Special and enterprise fund revenues that consist of the library, cemetery, fire, business park, capital improvement, water and sewer are projected to total $7,653,650 for 2018.

Expenditures are projected to total $7,216,360. Capital improvement accounts for the largest percentage at 89.5 percent, followed by fire at 3.9 percent, water at 3.4 percent, sewer at 2.9 percent, library at 0.3 percent, business park at .02 percent and cemetery at .01 percent.

The city's tax rate will increase by 0.933 percent from 2017.

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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