ST. PETER — With St. Peter home values projected to rise overall in 2020, homeowners are likely to see higher property taxes.

City, county and school district levies will be finalized in December, starting with the Nicollet County Board’s Dec. 5 meeting. Based on preliminary proposals, all three levies are set to rise by varying degrees.

It’ll mean higher property taxes, especially for residents whose home values are rising. The estimated market value on homes in St. Peter is projected to increase by 4.8% overall.

The city of St. Peter

The St. Peter City Council approved a $258,026 preliminary gross levy increase, or 8.6%, at a September meeting. Higher wage and insurance costs were among the main drivers of the increase.

Additional costs include the city’s first $92,000 debt payment for its pavilion project, due in February 2020. The city completed the long-awaited project in August. Another $50,000 will go toward the final year of a three-year sidewalk plan.

If the estimated market value on homes in St. Peter rises by 4.8% as projected earlier this fall, the levy increase would amount to an extra $62.25 in taxes for homes valued at $150,000 in 2019. Commercial properties valued at $250,000 this year would see a nearly $197 tax increase.

Properties not rising in value would see shallower tax upticks. A home remaining at a $150,000 value would result in a $21.46 increase, and a $250,000 commercial property would see $72.25 more in taxes.

St. Peter Finance Director Sally Vogel said the final levy is likely to be lowered from the preliminary figure. The Council will discuss the matter at its workshop Monday before approving the final levy at its Dec. 9 meeting.

“It’s going to be a slight reduction,” Vogel said. “ … As of right now we haven’t approved any changes, but we’ll talk about them Monday (at the Council workshop).”

Lower than expected quotes for equipment purchases will contribute to the lower levy increase. Vogel said a new road grader, for example, came in at $248,000 rather than $275,000.

Nicollet County

Nicollet County is likely to stick with a 5.25% tax levy increase for 2020. It’ll cover increasing health insurance costs, wage increases and 3.5 new staff positions in its health and human services and technology departments.

The tax levy would raise just over $23 million with the remainder of the budget funded by state and federal funds and fees, according to county officials.

The taxable market value in the county has gone up $111 million this past year, with 35% of that new construction, much of it in North Mankato. In the county, most homes, commercial and residential properties are likely to see their taxable values increase next year while farmland values will be flat.

Residential property owners will pay 52% of the county taxes, compared to 33% from ag land and 15% from commercial industrial property taxes.

On homes valued at $150,000 that have no market value increase in 2020, the additional taxes would be $8 next year. A similar home that sees a 5% value increase will pay $53 more in taxes.

Commercial/industrial properties, which are expected to see about a 6% value increase, and are valued at $530,000, would pay $389 more in property taxes next year.

Public Schools

The St. Peter Public Schools requested approval of a maximum levy at the School Board’s September 16 meeting. The .08% increase would bring the total levy in 2020 to $6.632 million, compared to $6.627 million this year.

Spending increases on career and tech offerings and post-employment benefits are among the factors driving the increase. The levy for post-employment benefits is slated to increase by $85,000 due to increased health costs and lowering the levy last year, according to an overview submitted by Business Manager Tim Regner to the School Board in September.

The school district’s levy authority expired for capital projects, resulting in $575,902 less in spending toward that category in the preliminary levy. The operating referendum for 2020 is also set to decrease by $12,246.

The School Board will finalize the levy at its Dec. 16 meeting.

Staff writers Tim Krohn and Trey Mewes contributed to this story.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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