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City sets levy increase of less than 1%

BRYON — The city of Byron's tax levy will increase by 0.4 percent in 2011, and taxes on some houses will drop if their assessed values don't increase, Administrator Mary Blair-Hoeft said Wednesday during the city's annual truth-in-taxation hearing.

Properties new to the tax rolls and and properties that have been reassessed with a higher value have increased the city's tax capacity by 3 percent and will cover most of the levy increase.

The city carries a heavy debt load, Hoeft reminded the council. Fifty-four percent of the city's revenue is used to make general obligation bond payments and for tax abatements.

Hoeft broke down city expenses per resident — $60.41 goes to law enforcement, $25.82 to fire protection, $24.71 to parks, $12.52 to snow removal, $13.39 to the swimming pool and $2.89 to first responders.

Byron's tax rates were once perceived as high, Mayor Ann Diercks said, but now the city has one of the lowest tax rates.


The city is projected to receive $270,000 in Local Government Aid from the state next year, but Hoeft reminded the council that the city must learn to stay within the budget without depending on the aid. Whether the LGA really comes through or not, "we still have to pay our bills," she said.

The council previously agreed that if the state aid is received, it will be used for capital improvement projects.

In other business

• The council approved 2011 tobacco licenses for Kwik Trip, the Byron Liquor Center and the Byron Food Center in Market Place.

• Olmsted County sheriff’s deputy Greg Wood reported that all businesses in Byron that sell alcohol passed a recent alcohol compliance check. There are nine businesses in Byron that sell alcohol, and some have failed the checks in the past. Wood said, "It makes all the hard work worth it."

He said managers and employees have been thoroughly to reach this point.

• Hoeft said there have been no applicants for open positions at the ice rink. She said the rink will still be flooded, but without an attendant, the warming house cannot be opened.

• Hoeft said that water seepage on 10th Avenue is from a tile line, not a water main break. She said city crews might install another tile line that is shallower than the current one and place it in more permeable dirt.


Coming up

• On Saturday afternoon, Diercks and Hoeft will sell Christmas trees at the Lions lot near Otto’s bakery. "We still need an elf," quipped Hoeft.

• A proposed restaurant on Byron Avenue, across from the elevator, and a proposed expansion at the Kwik Trip will be discussed at the planning and zoning meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at city hall.

• The city council's next meeting is at 6 p.m. Dec 22 at city hall.

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