Mpls., St. Paul Approve 2013 Budgets, Raise Property Taxes

Minneapolis plans to raise property taxes by about 1.77 percent, while St. Paul’s budget calls for a 1.9 percent increase.

The city councils of Minneapolis and St. Paul each approved their respective 2013 budgets on Wednesday, and both budgets call for increases in property taxes in the coming year.
 
Minneapolis’ $1.085 billion budget reflects a 3 percent decrease in overall expenses as compared to 2012 and raises city property taxes by about 1.77 percent. Meanwhile, St. Paul approved a nearly flat $501.2 million budget that calls for a 1.9 percent increase in the property tax levy.
 
However, both cities said that most homeowners won’t see their taxes go up, and some might even see declines.
 
The City of Minneapolis stressed that the levy increase is lower than in past years, and most homeowners would be paying 35 percent more in property taxes than they currently are had the city not tackled some “tough financial issues,” including the Vikings stadium deal that takes Target Center debt payments off the city’s ledger.
 
Other highlights of Minneapolis’ 2013 budget include adding $2.5 million to the Police Department budget in order to hire more officers and $1.1 million to the Fire Department’s budget to hire more firefighters. The city also plans to “continue to invest” in the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development, which offers financing, employee training, and other assistance to businesses. Additionally, the city will ramp up its investment in roads in the coming year.
 
Meanwhile, the City of St. Paul said that despite the increase in its property tax levy, homeowners should see their property tax bills drop next year because more homes are estimated to have lost value.
 
The city said it approved additional spending in a number of areas, including investments in the St. Paul Central Library that will allow it to remain open on Mondays, the St. Paul Police Department so it can hire to fill current vacancies, and St. Paul Public Schools so it can expand its “Parent Academies”—free seven-week programs that aim to help parents better understand educational issues. The city will pay for these additional investments with health care savings and excess tax-increment financing funds.