The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 29, 2013

Le Sueur home taxes go down slightly

4 percent increase offset by values

LE SUEUR — Property taxpayers in Le Sueur whose homes didn’t rise in value should see a slight property tax decrease next year.

Though the city and Le Sueur County are planning on raising taxes by at least 4 percent, a rising tax base and a decrease in school taxes will result in relatively stable taxes for home owners.

The largest share of the property tax trifecta, the city of Le Sueur in this case, set a preliminary levy in September that included an increase of 7.5 percent, or $128,565. But the City Council has since cut $31,745 from the budget, reducing that increase to 5.6 percent, City Administrator Richard Almich said.

There's another reason the city tax increase will be smaller than it looks.

"Now, it should be noted — and I don't know if this is the case for a lot of other cities out there — but we are starting to experience growth in net tax capacity," Almich said. It's only a modest increase, 1.58 percent in a year, but it lowers the city tax rate, decreasing the proportion of the levy that each taxpayer has to pay.

Like most cities, Le Sueur received a bump in local government aid, but chose to budget the extra $146,529 to bolster reserves. The city made that choice because reserves had fallen to less than 20 percent of the general fund, whereas they should be in the 35 percent to 50 percent range.

The city also decided to raise taxes in order to spend about $150,000 a year over the next five years to improve the city's network of sidewalks. They put an additional $20,000 into the street seal-coating budget, too.

Without that state aid, it would have been impossible to improve those sidewalks while shoring up their reserves.

"We're very grateful for what the state of Minnesota did for us," Almich said.

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