Increase in property tax revenue authorized

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Blaine city council recently voted to authorize a one percent increase in next year’s property tax revenue.

At the November 12 city council meeting, councilmembers voted 5-0 to adopt Ordinance 19-2936, which authorizes an increase in the regular property tax levy “in addition to any increase resulting from the addition of new construction and improvements to property and any increase in the value of state-assessed property,” according to the text of the ordinance.

The increase authorized for the 2020 levy is in the amount of $11,987 which represents a percentage increase of one percent from the previous year. According to Jeff Lazenby, the city of Blaine’s finance director, a homeowner with an assessed property value of $300,000 can expect to pay the city an estimated total of $400 in property tax, or $33 monthly.

A public hearing was previously held at the October 28 city council meeting regarding the 2020 revenue estimates and the 2020 property tax levy. No residents of Blaine offered public comments to city council at that time.

“The statutory limit placed on cities with a population under 10,000 in levying a property tax increase is one percent,” explained Lazenby. “That’s on the previous year’s property tax revenue plus any new construction.”

According to Lazenby, just 14 percent of property tax revenue comes to the city; the majority of property taxes go to the state’s general fund and the Blaine school district. “We just have one small piece of the pie,” he said.

Of the city’s regular property tax revenue, 74 percent gets allocated to the general fund and 26 percent goes to street operations, said Lazenby. The city was required to pass the 2020 property tax levy before November 30.

Ordinance 19-2936 also authorized a 16 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation levy to meet the bond payment requirements on the 2001 Odell Fire Station voted bond levy. The final bond payment is in December 2021.

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