December 1, 2008 CONTACT: Alan L. Mitchell, Administrator
St. Louis County Courthouse
Duluth, MN 218-726-2448
For Immediate Release:
St. Louis County property tax levy among lowest in the State
In September, the St. Louis County Board approved a proposed property tax levy of 4.88% for 2009, which accounted for the maximum amount that could be levied according to the State's local levy limits. After several intense budget meetings, on December 2nd Commissioners will be requested to approve a final levy amount of just 4.41% for 2009. Even with major cost drivers including negotiated cost of living increases for employees, the rising cost of employee health insurance, substantial increases for fuel and utilities, and state mandated increases in public safety and corrections spending, the St. Louis County Board has managed to keep its 2009 property tax levy below the authorized State levy limit and in the bottom third of all 87 Minnesota counties.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue released a press statement on November 12 focusing on the fact that property taxes in Minnesota are projected to increase 6.5% next year compared to 7.3% last year and an average of 8.1% the three previous years. The release explained the decrease by pointing to the local property tax levy limits imposed by the 2008 State Legislature.
However, the real credit must go to the local elected County Board members who refused to levy every dollar they legally could have.
Consistently, the message delivered to the State Legislature has been that county commissioners are responsive to the public, as well as current economic conditions, and make rational and responsible budget decisions. St. Louis County’s 2009 property tax levy of 4.41% is significantly lower than the State average of 6.22%, including the 6.40% average increase for Greater Minnesota counties and the 6.05% increase for Minnesota’s metro counties.
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