The preliminary levy increase is 9.5 percent, though that could decline.
The increase is something of a catch-up after several years of low increases and the use of reserves, County Administrator Ryan Krosch said. The average levy increase from 2010 to 2013 was 2.7 percent.
“Rather than put additional strain on reserves, we want to do a little catchup with our levies,” he said. “We’re hoping it won’t be felt because values are increasing.”
As recently as August, the county was planning on a smaller increase.
“We were under the assumption that levy limits would put a great deal of constraint on our ability to levy,” Krosch said.
But a more recent state analysis of levy limits showed the county had more freedom to levy.
The bottom line, according to Krosch, is that the total county tax rate is declining.
Schools cut levy
The final leg of the tax stool in North Mankato, Mankato Area Public Schools, is reducing its levy by 5.9 percent, to $16.5 million. Increases to per-pupil state aid are largely to thank, said Jerry Kolander, business director for the schools.
For a $150,000 home, that tax cut is about two-thirds as much as the increase for the $69.5 million referendum voters approved in November. In other words, the school portion of taxes is rising slightly because the referendum cost, at least for a $150,000 home, is a little larger than the tax cut.
North Mankato budget hearings City of North Mankato: 7 p.m. Dec. 2, City Hall, 1001 Belgrade Avenue Mankato Area Public Schools: 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3, Mankato, Intergovernmental Center, 10 Civic Center Plaza Nicollet County: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5, St. Peter, Nicollet County Government Center, 501 South Minnesota Avenue