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Pine Island taxes going down despite increase in levy

Despite an increase in the levy, Pine Island residents will pay lower city taxes in 2020.

David N.S. Todd Mug
David N.S. Todd
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PINE ISLAND — Despite an increase in the levy, Pine Island residents will pay lower city taxes in 2020.

City Administrator David Todd told the council that despite a 6.62 percent property tax levy increase for 2020, property taxes in the city will go down due to more than $300,000 in increased tax base.

That should provide some relief, Todd said, as other taxing entities could raise levies across the county.

The city's budget, which preliminary was set at $5,643,563. The levy itself rose from $2,469,622 in 2019 to $2,633,095, an increase of $163,473. 

Much of that, Todd said, came from $54,550 for a new fire truck, $75,000 to pave the park-and-ride lot near Dollar General, a merit increase of 2.5 percent for city staff, and a 3 percent increase in contracted police services with the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office.

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Todd, who is leaving his job at the city to pursue other opportunities, said his replacement, Elizabeth Howard, will have an opportunity to make some cuts to the budget and levy before they must be finalized in December. 

"There is wiggle room in the budget, there is wiggle room in the levy without sacrificing things we need to get done," Todd said. 

Whether cuts are made or not, according to documents in Tuesday's agenda a home valued at $100,000 would see its taxes reduced $34.17. A business with a commercial valuation of $350,000 would see its city tax bill drop $213.58.

In other business, the city passed a new ordinance for permitting public dances. 

Mayor Rod Steele said the previous permit ordinance looked as if it were written in a different time. 

In one way, that's true. The state of Minnesota no longer requires licenses or police protection for public dances as it once did. 

However, Steele said, the city does need to ensure there is insurance for a venue or organization that is putting on a public dance. That, he said, requires some time from city staff and would necessitate a licensing for a public dance. 

The city passed a new ordinance that will require permitting for all outdoor dances and dances at indoor public venues and indoor private venues. The new ordinance would charge any organization $50 a year to get a dance permit.

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The ordinance also extends the hours for a dance from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Finally, the city will send a letter to Signature Aquatics, the company that led construction efforts on the new Pine Island Pool, warning the contractor of possible breach of contract. 

City Attorney Bob Vose said the city has received a complaint from a subcontractor that it has not received a $13,440 payment for work done on the pool. Since all payments were to be made through Signature Aquatics, the city is letting the pool construction company know it could potentially face a lawsuit from the city. 

Related Topics: PINE ISLANDFINANCE
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