Marshall sets 2019 preliminary levy

MARSHALL — It wasn’t a full list, but increases in health insurance costs, street projects and tax capacity growth all factored into the preliminary levy recommended for Marshall next year, said Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson.

At Tuesday’s Marshall City Council meeting, Hanson gave an overview of a proposed 2019 levy, of about $6.79 million. The preliminary levy would be an increase of 6.43 percent over 2018.

Council members voted 6-1 to approve the preliminary levy. The council can set a final levy lower, but not higher, than the preliminary levy.

Hanson and council members went over a memo outlining major influences on the preliminary levy.

“This listing isn’t all-inclusive, but it does cover a number of items that resulted in my recommendation for the preliminary levy,” Hanson said.

One factor affecting the preliminary levy was the amount of city income outside of property taxes.

“Essentially, we have a flat Local Government Aid amount going from 2018 to 2019,” Hanson said. LGA levels for Marshall have remained flat since 2014, and the city is still getting less LGA funding than it did in 2002.

Other factors in the preliminary levy included some rising costs related to city employees. The city is anticipating a 2 percent cost of living increase for employees, as well as increases in health insurance costs.

“This is something that both the private and public sector can relate to,” Hanson said. Besides those increases, she said, the city has also proposed adding a parks employee. The cost of adding the employee would be split with the Red Baron Arena budget, which isn’t part of the city levy, she said.

“We also did increase the levy amount for the Capital Improvement Plan. Going from 2018 to 2019, we increased it by $50,000,” Hanson said. That included considerations for street overlays and repairs, Hanson said. However, she said, “We’re trying to be as conservative as we possibly can.”

Another key factor, Hanson said, was growth in Marshall’s tax capacity. The 2019 tax capacity grew from about $11.55 million to about $12.05 million, a rate of 4.33 percent, she said.

Under the proposal, Marshall’s tax rate would increase 1.68 percent overall, from 55.39 percent to 56.32 percent.

The preliminary levy would result in a $12 tax increase for the average homeowner with a home valued at $150,000, Hanson said.

Hanson said city will need to continue looking at possible strategies to reduce the preliminary levy, as well as looking at the city’s revenue sources.

The vote to approve the preliminary levy passed 6-1, with council member Glenn Bayerkohler casting the vote against.

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