LGA helps Delano hold the line on tax levy

DelanoBridgeAveThe Delano City Council has approved a $2,203,780 property tax levy that will pay for a major portion of its general fund operating expenses for 2014.

The council also approved a $444,000 tax levy for servicing the city’s debt. Delano is making payments on bonds for work on Franklin Avenue, a fire referendum, improvements to Rockford Avenue and Ninth Street and Bridge Avenue street work, along with a $100,000 tax abatement for Delano Crossings.

When the general fund and debt service levies are added together, the total final property tax levy for 2014 amounts to $2,649,780.

City Finance Director Brian Bloch said Delano’s total property tax levy in 2014 will be approximately the same as for 2013. He made this comment just before the city council, on Dec. 17, approved the final 2014 tax levies, general fund budget and 2014 – 2018 capital improvement plan.

Bloch said Delano was able to avoid an increase in the property tax levy “because we are getting local government aid (LGA) we can count on from the state.” His final budget figures show that Delano is expecting a total of $283,070 in intergovernmental aid in 2014, compared with $104,365 in 2013.

Delano also will get budget relief from the sales tax exemption for cities that recently was approved by the state legislature. Estimated cost savings for Delano in 2014 are estimated at $30,000.

The newly approved 2014 general fund budget amounts to $3,204,305, up by $188,259 from the $3,016,046 general fund budget for 2013. Again in 2014, Delano will set aside $160,000 for future street improvements. This money will be raised through the property tax levy. As money accumulates in the street improvement fund, Delano will be able to avoid selling bonds, and related debt costs.

Bloch said the capital improvement plan for 2014 – 2018 is a only a plan. The city council must approve all projects. Two major projects listed for 2014 are a riverfront flood wall costing an estimated $850,000 and street seal coating costing an estimated $70,000.

Major expenditures in the 2014 general fund budget include $612,585 for public safety operations, $564,430 for community services operations, $465,355 for public works operations and $384,145 for administrative service operations.

Delano was required to certify its final 2014 property tax levy and general fund budget to Wright County by the end of 2013. This past spring Delano held a Board of Appeals, at which property owners had the opportunity to protest their property valuations for taxes payable in 2014. A Delano property owner’s total property tax bill will include tax levies from multiple entities, including the city, Delano Public Schools, Wright County and watershed districts.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at susan.vancleaf@ecm-inc.com