Cities approve 2014 budgets, property tax levies

The 2014 budgets for the cities of Roseville, Falcon Heights and Lauderdale have been approved by each city’s respective city council.

The Roseville City Council approved the city’s final 2014 budget and property tax levy at the Dec. 9 city council meeting. The total budget was set at just under $50.7 million, of which about $23.1 million is for tax-supported programs and $27.6 is for non-tax supported programs -- increases of about $1.3 million and $4 million respectively.

The council set the 2014 city property tax levy at just over $18 million, which is an increase of $733,896, or 4.3 percent, over 2013. City finance director Chris Miller noted that of that increase, only about $200,000 was for the city’s day-to-day operations and the rest was due to remaining debt obligations associated with the Parks Renewal Program. Miller explained that the city phased in the impact of the park renewal bonds in recent years and noted 2014 is the last year of that phasing-in process, at which time $560,000 of debt service will be added. The adopted budget also included funding for a new park maintenance position and a volunteer coordinator position to manage the city’s existing volunteer network and expand the use of volunteers in city operations.

Miller noted that a recent decision by the the State Legislature that absolves cities from paying sales tax will generate about $200,00 of operational savings citywide, of which about $50,000 is in the general fund.

In 2014, the median-valued single family Roseville home will pay about $65 per month in city property taxes, which is an increase of about $4.46 over 2013. Approximately half that increase is due to higher spending and the other half is due to a property valuation increase, Miller noted. Currently, 90 cents of every city tax dollar in Roseville goes directly toward city services and the remaining 10 cents pays for legal, election, accounting and general administrative costs.

Miller said compared to other similarly sized population cities in the metro area, Roseville has been below average since 1995. He added that despite relatively large tax increases during the past four or five years, Roseville is still about 18 percent below average, and said he doesn’t believe that will change in the next five to 10 years.

“I think we’re always going to be below average and by double digit amounts,” Miller said.

The Falcon Heights City Council approved the city’s final 2014 budget and property tax levy at its Dec. 11 regular meeting. The city council set the 2014 property tax levy at just under $1.1 million -- flat from last year.

City administrator Bart Fischer said estimates show the median-valued home will see about an 8 percent decrease, or roughly $45 decrease, in what they will have to pay in city property taxes due to the increase in LGA and a growing tax base.

Falcon Heights' general fund expenditures total to 1.8 million for 2014. General fund expenditures and revenues are 3.2 percent higher than the 2013 operating budget. Falcon Heights received about $504,000 in Local Government Aid (LGA) for 2014.

In Lauderdale, the city council at its Dec. 10 meeting approved a 1 percent increase in the property tax levy over 2013. The 2014 levy was set at $616,215.

Despite the slight increase in the property tax levy, city administrator Heather Butkowski noted the median value of a Lauderdale home has dropped slightly this year which could lead some residents to see a decrease in their property taxes. The median home value in Lauderdale dropped from about $166,700  in 2013 to $163,600 for 2014.

The Lauderdale City Council also approved a total budget of $1.2 million for 2014. Butkowski noted that this year the city received about $19,000 more in LGA  -- bringing Lauderdale’s total amount of LGA to about $535,000. That increase in LGA is roughly the same as the increase that the city of Lauderdale will have to pay for contract police services with the city of St. Anthony, Butkowski added.

The Little Canada City Council is expected to approve the city’s final 2014 budget and property tax levy at the Dec. 18 city council meeting.

Alex Holmquist can be reached at or 651-748-7813. Follow her on Twitter @AlexHolmquist.

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