How are tax increases affecting Rochester council members?
Ward 4 council member notes she's seen steepest increase as she opposes potential increase in taxes collected by city.
Rochester City Council member Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick said rising property taxes in her neighborhood kept her from supporting a proposed increase.
“I try not to talk about myself and bring my personal voice into the job, because I feel like I’m the voice of the people and I don’t deserve one, but I had to speak up,” she said after she used her tax bill as an example of what others are seeing in Southeast Rochester.
Since 2015, the overall annual property tax on Kirkpatrick’s home has increased from $992 to $1,722.
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The 74.6% increase includes a 75% increase in the city’s portion of the bill, which went from $340 to $595 in six years.
The tax increases have occurred alongside increases on the estimated value of Kirkpatrick's home, which she purchased for $130,000 in 2016. At that time, the county valued it at $92,900 for the purpose of calculating taxes.
Olmsted County lists the current value at $149,400, and Mark Krupski, the county’s director of Property Records and Licensing, said the value is likely to increase still more next year.
“We’re looking at 15% on average, maybe higher in some neighborhoods, increase (in estimated values) next year,” he said, noting that the increases are largely driven by sale prices for similar homes.
State guidelines require the county to value the properties within 10 percent of comparable sales, so Krupski said assessors typically aim for an assessment that is 90 percent of what the home could fetch on the current market. Then, the taxable value can be reduced by a homestead exclusion, if the owner is living in the house.
Kirkpartick said she understands the mechanisms that spur increases, which she said are likely driven by her Eastside Neighborhood being more desirable to people who want to be able to walk to the downtown core. Still, she said, it creates a hardship for people living in otherwise affordable homes.
“We can’t afford it,” she said. “We just can’t afford it.”
Krupski said the increases can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and property to property based on individual amenities and other factors, but the fact that property values are increasing throughout the city often offsets a portion of the tax increases.
“What really determines how much the tax is going to go up on any one house is really how it fits into the overall scheme,” he said, adding that homes valued at less than $350,000 are seeing the highest rate of increase in the market.
Most of Kirkpatrick’s immediate neighbors haven’t seen the same drastic rate increase in recent years, but they have seen their tax bills increase by amounts ranging from about 40% to 75% since 2015.
It’s a range that also includes the property tax experience of three other council members.
In Ward 1, council member Patrick Keane’s overall property tax bill has increased by 47.6% on his Southeast Rochester home since 2015. He's due to pay $2,882 in proposed taxes this year. The city portion of Keane's tax increased from $686.98 to $1012.72.
In Ward 5, council member Shaun Palmer’s overall property tax bill has increased by 46.3% on his Northeast Rochester home since 2015. It's reached $2,068 in proposed taxes this year. The city portion of the tax increased from $492.64 to $725.86.
In Ward 6, council member Molly Dennis, who joined Kirkpatrick in opposing the potential tax levy increase, saw her overall property tax bill increase by 50.6% on her Northwest Rochester home since 2015, with it reaching $2,668 in proposed taxes this year. The city portion of the tax increased from $622.18 to $946.20 in the same period.
Others have seen slower increases.
In Ward 2, council member Mark Bransford’s overall property tax bill has increased by 29.2% on his Southwest Rochester home since 2015 to reach $4,050 in proposed taxes this year. The city portion of the tax increased from $1,113.32 to $1,432.90.
In Ward 3, council member Nick Campion’s overall property tax bill has increased by 26.7% on his Northwest Rochester home since 2015 to reach $3,216 in proposed taxes this year. The city portion of the tax increased from $897.90 to $1,133.06 in the same period.
Council President Brooke Carlson’s overall property tax bill has increased by 13.9% on her Northwest Rochester home since 2015 to reach $6,608 in proposed taxes this year. The city portion of the tax increased from $2,073.94 to $2,348.40.
Mayor Kim Norton’s overall property tax bill has increased by 21.6% on her Northeast Rochester home since 2015 to reach $3,082 in proposed taxes this year. The city portion of the tax increased from $896.38 to $1,084.44.