1020 poll results

The Free Press

In what isn’t really a surprise, a majority of area respondents do not support the city of Mankato’s plans to increase property taxes by 4% next year, according to a Free Press online question.

Out of 211 total respondents, 152 voters — about 72% — disagreed with Mankato’s 2020 levy plans. Only 59 voters supported the city’s proposed levy and budget.

The Mankato City Council appears to support the planned $20.5 million levy, though several have asked city staff to find ways to reduce the levy’s impact. Council members reviewed the plan with Mankato officials earlier this month.

The proposed budget would collect 4% more in property taxes next year and 4.8% in 2021 — boosting total collections from the current $19.65 million to $20.45 million in 2020 and $21.43 million the following year.

Roughly half of the increased collections would come from newly constructed homes, apartments and businesses. Most of the rest would fall on existing homeowners and apartment building owners.

The initial projections of the impact of the city levy predict that the owner of a $200,000 home, facing a typical market value increase, would pay $53 more in city taxes next year. The owner of a $1.4 million apartment complex would pay $114 more. Commercial and industrial properties, which are seeing their values decline, would pay less in municipal property taxes next year.

Beyond the property tax increase, Mankatoans will be seeing increases in water, sewer and garbage/recycling rates. A typical home will pay $34.56 more per year for water/sewer service in 2020 and an additional $28 more in 2021. Garbage rates are slated to rise about $6 per year each year.

While the city drafts a two-year budget, only the 2020 taxing and spending decisions will be finalized in December. Any increases in taxes and fees for 2021 will be reviewed a year from now and given final approval in December of 2020.

The Free Press online question, sent out Friday, asked, “Do you support Mankato’s proposed 4% property tax increase planned for 2020?”

There were two options to answer, “yes” or “no.”

Commenters largely opposed the levy increase. Several said they thought Mankato’s cost of living increases were outpacing the area’s wage growth, while others said the city should rein in spending.

“Pay for what’s in the budget this year, but the city needs to cut back on the ridiculous spending on infrastructure on the east side,” Dan Frank wrote. “They spent all that money on the roundabout at Madison Avenue when they could have built an r-cut at a fraction of the cost. Now they want to build a pedestrian bridge to Prairie Winds Middle School, the school they built in the middle of nowhere. Downtown, west Mankato, and main street, hilltop are all subsidizing car dealerships and McMansions with rising taxes every year.”

Jane Schmillen wrote, “My proposed home value is going up $16,000 next year. I have no idea what that means for additional property taxes, but I know that my insurance will go up. Now you are saying an increase in water, garbage and who knows what else. As a senior with a fixed income you are pricing me out of my house.”

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