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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Truth in Taxation Notices Arriving

Truth in taxation notices are starting to arrive in local mailboxes, and ours was here today. I've been very curious to see this, the first time I've gotten one since joining the council, to see what our potential maximum tax levy works out to on the bottom line for a homeowner.

In September we set our maximum levy at a 6% increase. We can reduce this further, but we can't increase it, in our final budget meetings in December. At our last budget workshop, staff indicated that they were recommending cuts that would lower the increase to 3%.

The levy has a complicated relationship to an individual property owner's tax bill. We actually set a dollar figure as the levy, and then a state-determined formula is used to apportion those total taxes among property owners, according to classes of property (businesses, homes) and individual property values as assessed by the county (some may increase in value one year while others decrease).

For our home's taxes, the assessed value of our property declined 5.5%. This is pretty well in line with what we heard was typical across Maplewood -- declines in value of about 6% for residential properties. If the city went with the maximum levy (as the truth in taxation notice assumes), the city portion of our property taxes would rise just 1.6%, which already is less than inflation. If we go with the staff recommendation of a 3% levy increase (or lower) versus the maximum 6%, I'm betting it will mean our final city tax bill will be lower in 2009 than 2008, and that would be true for most Maplewood homeowners.


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