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City analyzes levy options

Possibilities include levy increases of 3.5 percent, 6.5 percent; development would spread out tax impact

August 30, 2012
By Deb Gau , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - Members of the Marshall City Council got a look at a pair of options for 2013 city property taxes on Tuesday night, as part of a budget work session. While both of the options presented involved a levy increase, Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said individual taxpayers might not see much of an impact.

Martig went through two possible levy rates for 2013. The first was a levy of about $5.1 million, a 6.5 percent increase over 2012. However, Martig said, future growth and development in Marshall would spread out the tax impact on individual property and business owners. In effect, he said, a house valued at $100,000 would see a tax increase of 2.8 percent. A commercial or industrial property valued at $3 million would see an effective tax increase of 2.9 percent. If county and school district levies are taken into account, Marshall residents' total tax bills could be lower than they have been in years, he said.

Alternatively, Martig said the city could opt for a levy increase of 3.5 percent. Growth in the city tax base would still tend to lower the effective tax rate, so individual property owners wouldn't see an increase in taxes.

Martig said current tax rates for the city of Marshall, Lyon County and Marshall Public Schools are comparable with state averages.

"We're in the middle of the pack in our group," he said.

The city's budget and property tax discussions will continue. The city has until Sept. 15 to adopt a preliminary budget and levy. Once adopted, the preliminary levy may be lowered, but it can't be increased.

During the work session, council members also heard 2013 funding requests from the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee and the Marshall EDA. Chamber Director Cal Brink presented both requests.

Brink said the EDA was requesting a slightly larger budget for 2013, and the bulk of that increase would go to EDA staff salaries other than his own. Brink said he was also in the process of updating economic development and technology specialist Marcia Loeslie's job description, to reflect additional work responsibilities Loeslie has taken on.

Brink said the Transportation Committee was asking for funding similar to what it had received in the past, at $18,000. Brink said advocacy will continue to be a key part of accomplishing some of the committee's long-term goals, like a study of the Minnesota Highway 23 corridor. He said committee members are also considering the issue of leadership after the death of chairman Steve Strautz earlier this year.

"It will be hard to replace that passion," Brink said of Strautz.



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