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Delano City Council approves 2016 budget
Dec. 7, 2015

By Gabe Licht

DELANO, MN – Delano property tax payers can expect to see a decrease in their property tax rate, though that doesn’t necessarily mean they will pay less, following the approval of the city’s budget, levy, and capital improvement plan Tuesday.

Finance Director Brian Bloch explained that the city’s total levy will be $2,892,368, a 5.68 percent increase from 2015.

“However, the tax rate is decreasing by .629 percentage points due to a large increase in taxable market value, while an increase in debt tax levies suppressed a larger decrease,” Bloch said during a presentation.

How much more or less property owners pay will depend upon whether or not the taxable market value of the property changed.

For the average home price of $225,000, taxes are expected to decrease 2.27 percent from $2,466 to $2,410 if the taxable market value does not change. However, if a home’s market value increases 4 percent, taxes would increase 2.35 percent to $2,524.

The city’s preliminary 2016 tax rate is 53.48 percent, compared to the actual 2015 tax rate of 54.11. The total preliminary tax rate for Delano, including the county (about 39.95 percent) and the school (about 22.43 percent) is 115.86, compared to 118.58 percent in 2015. That ranks as the second lowest total proposed tax rate in Wright County, behind Monticello. The city’s proposed tax rate ranks sixth out of 17 cities in the county.

As for the budget, general fund expenditures are up $15,192, or about .5 percent, from $3,322,645 to $3,337,837.

Of that amount, 26 percent is allocated for community services, 21 percent for general government, 20 percent for public safety, 15 percent for capital outlay, 13 percent for public works, and 5 percent for other.

The community services budget has increased the most, while the capital outlay budget has decreased due to the city putting less money into the street fund.

Revenue is also budgeted at $3,337,837, indicating a balanced budget. The bulk of revenues (69 percent) comes from property taxes, followed by franchise fees and intergovernmental aids (10 percent each), transfers (6 percent), licenses and permits (3 percent, and other (2 percent).

“I do want to point out that we take a very conservative approach to permits and licenses, due to their volatile nature,” Bloch said. “We’ve budgeted $108,000 for 2016, which is quite a bit less than we’ve been receiving the last couple years, which has been about $200,000. Remember back to 2009-2010, we were only at about $100,000 in revenue from permits, so it’s nice to be a little conservative.”

Bloch noted this is the third year the city will receive local government aid from the state, after not receiving funding for the four previous years.

Following a public hearing, with no comments from the public, the council approved the budget; levies; and a $3,402,550 capital improvement plan, which included $2,936,700 for streets, $278,000 for public works, and $149,350 for the fire department.

Odds and ends
In other business, the council:

• tabled a pay request of about $274,736 for the floodwall construction and riverfront improvements project until the contractor details plans to finish the project.

• authorized the 2016 maintenance agreement with Wright County Department of Highways for the reimbursement of maintenance activities on Wright County Road 17 from Highway 12 to Park Avenue for routine maintenance such as snow and ice removal, with an estimated reimbursement of $3,386 to the city.

• approved an interim grading permit for Wright Neighborhood Third Addition so work can begin before spring.

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