The St. Louis County board has unanimously approved its proposed property tax levy at $136.7 million for 2019, an amount that should result in a minor tax decrease for most property owners, thanks to an increase in the county’s property tax base.
The levy – revenue collected from property taxes – makes up about one third of the St. Louis County budget. The levy amount is a 3.45 percent increase from this year, however, will be more than offset by the estimated 4 percent growth in the property tax base. For example, the owners of a $150,000 home would see a decrease of $4.71 on the county portion of their property taxes next year compared to what they paid this year.
Key factors in the 2019 levy include investments in human services, namely out-of-home placements, substance abuse and mental health. The levy also addresses the costs associated with final implementation of the true county assessor model – the county has assumed the costs from townships and cities to conduct assessments countywide. Increased staff salary and healthcare costs are a third factor.
“Establishing the levy amount is a challenging process every year,” said Commissioner Keith Nelson, County board chair. “We are always aware of the needs that must be addressed through county services, but are equally mindful of the need to be respectful of our citizens who are supporting this levy with their hard earned money. And so we are pleased to announce that with this levy, the actual property tax rate will be dropping in St. Louis County.”
By law, Minnesota counties must set their maximum preliminary levy that portion of the budget collected through property taxes by the end of September. As the board and staff work to finalize the 2019 budget over the next few months, the levy amount may be reduced, but it cannot increase. Commissioners are set to vote on the final capital and operating budget on December 18.
Two meetings have been set to collect public input on the levy and budget. They will be on November 29 at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia, and on December 6 at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth. Both meetings will start at 7 p.m. Citizens are also welcome to provide input at any County board meeting, or by contacting commissioners directly. Contact information can be found at stlouiscountymn.gov/countyboard.
More information about the levy, and the budget process can be found online at stlouiscountymn.gov/budget.