Ramsey County, 4 cities pass 2019 budgets

Four cities and Ramsey County will up their spending by 4 to 6 percent in the coming year, according to budgets passed in early December.

In addition to the county, the city councils of Arden Hills, St. Anthony, New Brighton and Mounds View adopted tax levies and budgets for 2019.

 

Arden Hills

The Arden Hills City Council passed a $5.4 million general fund budget during its Dec. 10 meeting. General fund spending in 2019 will be up 5.8 percent over the current year.

The new budget includes a 2.5-percent pay raise for city staff members, which is in line with negotiated labor aggreements, according to city documents. Arden Hills will also budget for two added staff positions: a recreation programmer and senior engineering technician.

Council member Brenda Holden said during the meeting that these aren’t wholly new positions for Arden Hills, but they haven’t been on the staff roster for a few years.

The council unanimously passed the 2019 budget. The city’s property tax levy of $3.9 million for 2019 passed with one dissenting vote from council member Fran Holmes.

In the fall, the city council set a tax levy increase ceiling of 5 percent over 2018. The ultimate increase ended up being 4 percent, or an additional $33 for the median-value homeowner.

Holmes wanted the increase kept at 5 percent to close in on the general fund deficit of about $186,000.

“I believe that it’s smart budgeting to meet the budget revenues with the expenditures,” she said. “Even with the 5 percent we wouldn’t be doing that, but we would be closer to having a balanced budget.”

Finance Director Gayle Bauman said that the city has in recent years run a similar deficit, using transfers and reserves to fill the gap.

 

Mounds View

The Mounds View City Council passed budget and tax levy resolutions for 2019 on Dec. 10.

The $7.3 million general fund budget is a 5.3-percent increase over 2018. The council also passed the 2019 property tax levy, which will total $5.3 million.

The city’s total tax levy is an increase of 9.1 percent over 2018. That includes base property tax, special levies, debt service levies, a street improvement levy and a $100,000 levy for the Economic Development Authority.

Mayor Carol Mueller said that continuing the EDA levy helps to improve the community.

“We are continuing to request the tax levy for $100,000 for 2019, which allows us to continue our residential and business loan program that the economic development authority for the city has put in place for several years,” she said.

The tax increase amounts to an additional $130 for a home worth $268,000, according to city documents. That is above the median home value of $219,000.

 

St. Anthony

During its meeting on Dec. 11, the St. Anthony City Council passed its budget and tax resolution for the coming year.

The 2019 budget calls for $7.2 million in general fund spending, which is up about 5 percent over the current year. City budget documents note that much of the increase comes from personnel costs, which make up more than two thirds of the general fund expenditures. Those costs are expected to rise by $161,503.

The 2019 property tax for St. Anthony residents will total $7.3 million, which is a 6.7-percent increase from 2018.

 

New Brighton

Members of the New Brighton City Council passed a $16.8 million general fund budget during their Dec. 11 meeting.

General fund spending will increase about 6.1 percent, and that will be supported by a $9.5 million property tax levy. The approved levy amount is an increase of about 9.9 percent over this year.

The levy increase includes $346,900 for street reconstruction projects in the coming year. During the meeting, Finance Director Brenda Davitt said that this is a 10-year project that began in 2015.

“The increase in our levy in this particular projection is mainly based off our street reconstruction program and adding a levy every year for new street reconstruction projects,” she said.

Additional tax proceeds will also cover a full-time police officer position and a City Hall staff position.

Increased tax on a $264,500 home in New Brighton is estimated to be $85 for 2019, according to the city.

 

Ramsey County

Ramsey County’s $738 million 2019 budget was approved by the Board of Commissioners on Dec. 11. It’s supported by a property tax increase of $13.3 million, or 4.3 percent, over 2018, according to the county.

The total county property tax levy of $312 million provides about 42 percent of the overall budget, according to Ramsey County.

 

–Matt Hudson can be reached at mhudson@lillienews.com or 651-748-7825.

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