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Where Do Your Property Taxes Go?

At Monday night’s city council meeting in Two Harbors, Finance Director Miranda Pietila presented the proposed 2023 tax levy and budget for the council’s consideration. A small number of residents in attendance shared their perspectives and concerns about the proposal.

In September 2022, the city adopted a preliminary property tax levy at a projected increase of 4% for fiscal year 2023. The Finance Committee reviewed the proposed tax levy and budget, and after said review reduced the property tax increase to 2%.

There are many factors influencing the recommended 2023 budget, including the need to recruit and retain a city administrator, hire a police office, and fill vacant staff positions at City Hall and in the public works department. In addition, 2023 will bring maintaining and enhancing city infrastructure, increasing and changing employee benefits, and implementing plans for community amenities.

Property values in the city have increased over the past year. Pietila indicated that the median family home valued at $149,000 in 2022 had increased to $190,000. This increase in property value will mean an approximate increase of $92 a year, or just $7.67 a month.

Property tax revenues make up 48% of the city’s general fund for 2023. Intergovernmental revenue, charges for service, and fees from licenses and permits make up most of the balance, about $5,161,103.00 for 2023. So, where do your property taxes go? They go to fund expenditures for public safety, public works, parks and recreation, health and welfare, and the running of the city’s government. These expenditures will total around $5,160,650.00 for the coming year, which is a slim margin based on revenues.

No one likes to see their property taxes go up, and one area resident reminded the council that, given the challenging economic times we are in, it is prudent for council members to consider where the budget can be trimmed by delaying some proposed projects or by imposing a hiring freeze until the economy becomes more stable.

After considering the presentation and comments from the public, the council voted to establish the levy and budget for 2023.

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