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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Council OKs maximun levy increase

Keith Vandervort
Posted 11/22/21

ELY – Despite having two months to sharpen their pencils, the Ely city council budget committee couldn’t find even one dollar to cut from the proposed budget they presented in September, …

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Council OKs maximun levy increase

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ELY – Despite having two months to sharpen their pencils, the Ely city council budget committee couldn’t find even one dollar to cut from the proposed budget they presented in September, so property taxpayers here are looking at a 4.52-percent levy increase next year.
City council members last week approved a final 2022 tax levy of $1,977,900, an increase of $85,600 from the 2021 budget.
Council member Paul Kess noted that the maximum levy of 4.52 percent was set in September. The actual budget and final tax levy will be presented at the Truth-in-Taxation hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at the maximum amounts. City residents will have an opportunity to sound off on the property tax increase at that time.
The proposed 2022 city budget is available for viewing online (www.ely.mn.us) or at City Hall.
In September, Kess said, “We are hopeful we can bring this down.”
Last week, as he tried to explain the property tax increase, Kess said, “Our budgets are pretty tight. There is not much slack there unless we cut personnel or services. For now, we remain a well-managed city and 4.5 percent (increase) is not extraordinary.”
In the 2022 budget, proposed to increase from $3,636,200 to $3,893,200, property taxes make up about 13.5 percent of revenues. Local Government Aid is projected to increase from $2,448,500 in 2021 to $2,497,100 next year.
In the property tax summary, the General Fund shows an increase of nearly 10 percent, from $480,000 to $527,100 for next year. The Library fund increases 2.23 percent, from $340,700 to $348,300. The Cemetery fund is projected to rise from $34,500 to $36,100. Debt service is proposed to decrease nearly 6.5 percent, from $311,500 to $291,400. Capital project costs show an increase of 7.35 percent, from $558,900 to $600,000. Equipment replacement also shows a nearly five-percent increase, from $166,700 to $175,000.
The levy increase was unanimously approved.
In other business, the city council:
• Approved a recommendation from the Projects Committee to award the hazardous material testing at the Community Center to Braun Intertec for $4,230.
• Agreed to hire Kimberly Koivisto for the Utility Billing Clerk position, pending background check.
• Agreed to transfer $215,000 from the Airport fund to the Equipment Replacement fund for the purchase of a jet fuel tanker truck for the Ely Airport.
• Heard from Ely Police Chief Chad Houde that overnight parking warning period is done and citations are now being issued.
• Scheduled public hearing for 5 p.m. on Tuesday Dec. 7 for three hazardous buildings in the city at 726 E. Camp St., 1811 E. Chapman St., and 1945 E. Harvey Street.
• Agreed to advertise for the opening on the Planning and Zoning Commission due to Dave Huberty accepting the Planning and Zoning Administrator position.
• Approved a temporary on-site liquor license for the Ely Folk School on Saturday, Dec. 11 at Semer’s Park.

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