We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite proposed levy increase, Stewartville aims to reduce taxpayers' burdens

The city's tax base has grown, too, so a higher tax levy might not translate to a higher tax bill for Stewartville homeowners.

IMG_9203.JPG
Stewartville City Hall is shown on Sept. 22, 2022.
Dené K. Dryden / Post Bulletin
We are part of The Trust Project.

STEWARTVILLE — During its Sept. 13 meeting, the Stewartville City Council approved a proposed tax levy increase of 15.31%. However, the city's tax base has increased 22.69%, so residents may not see a jump for their 2023 property taxes, depending on their home's market value.

"If your house goes up in value, maybe $20,000, your market value exclusion may go down by, say, $4,000," said Stewartville financial director Karla Strain.

Also Read
The candidates for Goodhue Mayor make their pitches to voters ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.
The candidates for Eyota Mayor make their pitches to voters ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.

As noted in the council's resolution on the preliminary levy, if a home's market value stayed the same, the homeowner would see a relative decrease in city tax to pay in 2023 versus 2022.

Strain said Stewartville's proposed levy increase comes in response to heightened or new expenses.

"We've got an increase for our law enforcement budget because of another officer coming on," Strain said, referring to the city's contract with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office to provide law enforcement coverage in the city. "And then just with the cost of some of the goods and services, fuel prices have gone up tremendously — all of those things that we're looking at, just trying to allocate appropriately for those as well."

ADVERTISEMENT

Strain mentioned that the city's nearly 23% increase in its tax base doesn't mean the city budget is set to grow to that degree.

"We're actually looking at taking our tax capacity levy number down from year-to-year," she said.

A truth and taxation meeting to present and discuss Stewartville's levy increase with the public will be held in December.

As Minnesota cities prepare their preliminary levy reports, other area cities are planning for levy increases. In Pine Island, the city's 2023 budget is estimated to grow with a 4.89% increase in cost for contracted law enforcement service through the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office, cost of living increases for city staff and $150,000 allocated toward finishing the city's ice rink in 2023. This has prompted a suggested levy increase of 12.97%.

More stories from Stewartville
Rankings based on the votes of media member across the state of Minnesota.
Senior running back Owen Sikkink ran up 221 total yards and three touchdowns for Stewartville in a comfortable win against rival Byron, in a rematch of a 2021 Section 1AAAA playoff thriller.

But Pine Island is also seeing an increased tax base — the city estimates taxes on residential and commercial properties will decrease as a result.

"Although our tax levy is increasing, because of our increased tax base, the levy is being spread out between a larger base so taxes as currently presented would decrease approximately $57.11 per $100,000 residential valuation," wrote Pine Island city administrator Elizabeth Howard in a letter to the city council for its Sept. 20 meeting. "However, please keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily mean taxes will decrease since valuations may have increased this past year."

Similarly, Wabasha has a proposed levy increase of 15.7% to account for increased city staff and police wages and an anticipated 2.1% Wabasha Port Authority levy increase. The city had used American Rescue Plan Funds to reduce the 2022 tax levy.

Minnesota cities must submit preliminary levies to their respective counties by Sept. 30, and the levy increase ultimately approved by the city council cannot exceed the proposed amount but can be reduced.

Dené K. Dryden is the Post Bulletin's region reporter, covering the greater Rochester area. Before joining the Post Bulletin in 2022, she attended Kansas State University and served as an editor for the student newspaper, the Kansas State Collegian, and news director for Wildcat 91.9, K-State's student radio station. Readers can reach Dené at ddryden@postbulletin.com.
What to read next
The candidates for Chatfield Mayor make their pitches to voters ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.
The Rochester Police Department clarified that although the Mayo scare originated because of wrong information, local law enforcement is not limited to handling one crisis at a time.
Seven area groups that work with entrepreneurs are joining forces and forming the RAEDI Economic Development Center on the sixth floor of the Minnesota Biobusiness Center. The new center is hosting a grand opening on the evening of Monday, Oct. 3.
Charges related to the incident have been recommended to the Olmsted County Attorney's Office.