The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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August 5, 2013

Mankato eyes 1.7 percent levy hike

Tax base growth should mean smaller bills for property owners

(Continued)

The other half of the proposed increase in the debt service levy is to provide some cushion on payments for projects where assessments have been deferred against some benefiting property owners. The city saw an increase during the economic recession in the number of senior citizens who chose to defer payment of assessments on street projects until their home is sold.

A larger share of the deferrals involved properties on the edge of town but outside the city limits that aren't forced to pay their share of assessments until they are developed and are annexed into the city, Hentges said.

State law allows levying 105 percent of anticipated debt payments, and Hentges suggested now is a good time to put that cushion in place.

"I think it just makes good fiscal sense," he said.

Mayor Eric Anderson asked staff to prepare a 10-year projection of future debt service obligations, saying he would be more comfortable with the levy increase if he saw signs that the debt service levy would level off or fall in coming years.

"What does that trend line look like?" Anderson wondered.

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