City tax rate to decrease slightly

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by Dennis Dalman

After months of work, the Sartell city staff and the City Council presented a preliminary budget and levy for 2020, and the council approved it unanimously at its Sept. 23 meeting.

The good news is the tax rate will decrease by about 0.60 percent from this year’s rate.

The city’s general fund budget would increase by 2.5 percent to a total of $5,174,069.

Other items in the budget, other than the general fund, include capital/equipment funds $456,000; street-abatement funds $422,000; 2006/2012 debt service funds $145,000; 2018 public-safety facility (new police/fire building) phase 1 $650,000; 2019 public safety facility Phase 2 $130,000; and 2019 fire platform truck debt service $52,000.

The total preliminary levy is $7,295,793.

The preliminary budget and levy are not yet set in stone. The council cannot increase them once they are approved.

However, it can decrease the amount after hearing public input at the open budget/levy public hearing set for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9.

Sartell Financial Director Heidi Ostlie pointed out salient features of the budget at the council meeting.

Preliminary tax notices will be sent to property owners in November and will include the preliminary budget and levy information for each governmental unit applicable for each taxpayer.

It was the goal of the council and city staff to get as close as possible to a flat tax rate or a slight decrease in it, which was accomplished.

“Thanks to staff for finding cuts to get us where we are,” said Sartell Mayor Ryan Fitzthum.

Author: Dennis Dalman

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.

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