ELY – City of Ely taxpayers will be paying more in property taxes for 2019 and nobody seems to mind. Not one person attended a Truth-in-Taxation public hearing held Tuesday night at city hall to …
ELY – City of Ely taxpayers will be paying more in property taxes for 2019 and nobody seems to mind. Not one person attended a Truth-in-Taxation public hearing held Tuesday night at city hall to learn more about the city’s tax and spending plans for next year.
In an empty council chamber, Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski and city council members reviewed the proposed budget, that calls for a 2019 city levy of $1,751,0798— an increase of $52,400, or 3.08 percent over 2018.
“Our estimated taxable market value for 2019 increased $8,629,600, or 5.2 percent, compared to 2018 which is significant,” Langowski said.
The city’s general fund levy will see the largest increase for next year, jumping $45,700, or 11 percent, over last year’s number, to $458,300. The general fund includes police and fire protection, street maintenance, building safety, city administration, parks and recreation, legal services, building operations, planning and zoning and other general government expenses.
The library fund will increase by $5,700, from $273,100 to $278,800, or about 2.09 percent, Langowski said. Other funds stayed much the same.
Total general fund expenditures are budgeted to increase by $91,800, or 2.8 percent. “The $45,700 increase in the levy along with increases in other revenues offsets those increased expenditures,” Langowski said.
The jump in property taxes for next year is largely due to the much smaller increase in Local Government Aid, he noted. “Our LGA increased sufficiently in 2018 to offset the inflationary and labor contract increases and in the budget, allowing for a reduction in property taxes,” Langoswki said. “In 2019, LGA increases are not sufficient to cover our rising costs.”
In 2018, LGA increased by $85,300. In 2019, the city of Ely will receive only a $5,800 boost in LGA. “That is a considerable reduction,” he said. “I would expect the increase in LGA to be much higher next year.”
The Ely Economic Development Authority levy, a completely separate fund, will increase to $31,643.34, based on the increase in the taxable market value of properties in the city.
Other changes in the 2019 budget include a big drop in capital project expenditures, estimated to total $2.59 million, a decrease from $4.735 in 2018. “Twenty-three percent of that amount, or $597,200, is budgeted by property taxes,” Langowski said. The remaining $1.922 million is funded by federal and state grants. “We get money from IRRRB on the state level and CDBG on the federal level. On the local level, we have transfers from utilities for improvements made to water and sewer, and at the airport we receive both State of Minnesota and FAA funds,” he said.
The Ely City Council will give their final approval to the budget and certify the levy at their Dec. 18 regular business meeting.