Afton's preliminary budget sees slight increase over 2009 figuresThe Afton City Council approved its 2010 preliminary budget at $1,660,519, an increase of 1.2 percent over the 2009 budget, last week during a special meeting.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
The Afton City Council approved the preliminary budget and tax levy for 2010 last week during a special meeting.
Only three council members were in attendance at the Tuesday, Sept. 8 meeting. Council member Peg Nolz was out of town on vacation and Mayor Pat Snyder was ill.
The preliminary budget was approved at $1,660,519, which is an increase of 1.2 percent over the 2009 budget. The preliminary tax levy was approved at $1,516,258 which is a 3.9 percent increase over the 2009 levy.
“We’re allowing ourselves the option of raising taxes 3.9 percent if we find it absolutely necessary,” Snyder said. “Afton has one of the lowest effective tax rates in the metro area and throughout the state of Minnesota.”
The levy increase received some hesitation from the council, but those concerns will be addressed as the budget process continues.
“It seems like a bad idea to be raising taxes during these economic times,” council member Randy Nelson said.
These increases are fairly similar to those from previous years.
Some of the elements that had an impact on the increased budget included the losses of state Unallotment of Market Value Credits.
Additionally, the addition of the Fire Relief Association Fund. The Fire Relief Association Fund includes $13,857 that is allocated for the fire district to award their retired officers since they are currently in a deficit. The state requires that cities pay.
Since this is the preliminary budget though, the city council will have opportunities to lower the budget or the levy as the budget process goes forward before the final approval in December. Several work sessions will be held prior to final approval.
“I think the budget process is part of a bigger issue that there are clear a distinct differences of opinions of how this city should be operated as evidenced by a spirited campaign and election season last year,” interim city administrator Jim Norman said.