Budget shrinks, some tax bills grow — but few complaintsRising property tax bills didn’t result in a flood of angry commenters at a public hearing last week on Washington County’s proposed 2012 budget and property tax levy.
By: Jon Avise, Woodbury Bulletin
Rising property tax bills didn’t result in a flood of angry commenters at a public hearing last week on Washington County’s proposed 2012 budget and property tax levy.
The Washington County Board was expected to approve the proposed $139.8 million 2012 operating budget that cuts spending 4.1 percent from 2011 at its meeting Tuesday in Stillwater, after this edition of the Bulletin went to press. Commissioners were also set to consider the proposed $86.5 million property tax levy, a 0.3 percent cut from 2011.
“I’m proud of the fact we have cut the levy by 0.3 percent,” said Commissioner Lisa Weik, who represents most of Woodbury on the board, during Thursday’s Truth in Taxation hearing. “We’re providing core services. We haven’t ripped the safety net.”
But despite the cuts, for many property owners taxes will spike in 2012. State lawmakers this year axed a property tax credit program and replaced it with a formula that excludes some of a home’s value from taxation, altering how property owners’ taxes are calculated.
Because of that change, county officials expected an unsympathetic response from residents and braced for hundreds of calls from angry taxpayers. Instead, just two residents spoke at last Thursday night’s hearing and the number of complaints to county staff was more a trickle than a tidal wave, according to Kevin Corbid, director of property records and taxpayer services.
“It was much lighter than we expected,” Corbid said. He credited extensive coverage of the property tax law change in the news media and the county’s efforts to educate the public for the relatively small number of complaints and light turnout at the Truth in Taxation hearing.