Monday, April 22nd, 2024 Church Directory

County approves 6.49% levy increase for 2023

The Sherburne County Board Tuesday certified the 2023 property tax levy at  $58,452,566. That represents a 6.49% increase over the 2022 levy of $54,889.085.

Last year, the levy was increased 4.86% from 2021.

The three largest levy-supported expenses in 2023 take up more than half of the levy total. They are Law Enforcement/ Corrections at $19,219,312, up $994,991 from 2022. Next is Public Works at $10,702,229, up $137,029 and Health & Human Services at $10,541542, up $501,445.

The original budget and levy request presented at the August budget workshop meeting called for a levy increase of 6.99%. But those numbers were reduced by $273,802 over the past few months through staff meetings, board workshops and public input. 

Administrator Bruce Messelt said growth across the county  has had a positive impact on revenues. The countywide tax base has grown approximately 21.65% for taxes payable in 2023 and the latest census numbers indicate a 11.9% population growth rate since 2010 (88,499 to 99,074). 

Building and new home permits continue to trend upward. Countywide, there were 474 new home permits in 2021, compared to 83 in 2011. The county also saw approximately $221.5 million of new construction projects added to the tax rolls for taxes payable in 2023.

The 2023 budget of $122,897,214 includes several full-time employee (FTE) requests. But most of the new positions are expected to be offset by the increase in revenue, cuts to professional services and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. New positions accounted for less than a 1% increase to the levy.

Based on the 6.49% levy increase, the county tax rate will still see a reduction due to the increase in the tax base. The impact on the average homestead property would decrease if their taxable value remained constant. However, since the average residential taxable valuation has increased approximately 22.5%, the impact would be approximately $9.60 per month on the average residential homesteaded property in Sherburne County.

The board also certified the Regional Rail Authority levy in the amount of $0. Although the county’s actual share of Northstar expenditures for 2023 is $1,194,180, no levy dollars will be used to pay that cost. The money will come from revenues collected through the Local Option Sales Tax.

Northstar Link

The board approved the annual Operating Grant Agreement with St. Cloud Metro Transit for the 2023 Northstar Link Commuter Bus Service. Mn/DOT, Sherburne, Stearns, and Hennepin County’s Regional Rail Authorities have agreed to continue providing funding for the Northstar Link commuter bus service between St Cloud and Big Lake. Sherburne County’s contribution is 43.4% of the Net Operating Costs, or $84,546. The plan is to utilize Emergency Relief funds, and not the tax levy, to cover the operating costs.

Hwy. 25 Study

The board approved a Joint Powers Agreement with Wright County for a Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) study of Hwy. 25. A PEL will define transportation improvements needed within the study area by evaluating several factors such as mobility, safety, reliability, economic development and congestion. 

The cost is still to be determined, but both counties have agreed  to acquire all necessary funding, utilizing the Central Minnesota River Partnership (CMRP) funds and Initiative funds to complete the initial phase of the study.

ARPA Expenditures

The board approved ARPA expenditures totalling $363,663.81. That total includes $68,926.28 for reimbursement for a Human Resources position in the sheriff’s department;  $106,362.19 for jail overtime costs; $65,000 for YMCA Drop-In child care staffing; $164,62 for a file management system in the county attorney’s department and $8,750.04 in reimbursement for payroll in administration and maintenance for dealing with COVID-related programs.