Woodbury homeowners may pay more property taxes in 2018

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Woodbury homeowners could see an uptick in their property taxes if the City Council finalizes a preliminary tax levy in December.

Owners of homes valued at $296,700, the median value for the city, would pay $31 more in property taxes following a $3 decrease in 2017.

The city is proposing a similar tax levy increase to last year — about 3.8 percent — but the property tax increase stems from shifts in the median value of homes in the city.

While values rose minimally between 2016 and 2017, 2018 values rose nearly $19,000 over last year.

"One thing that's peculiar in the tax system is how that affects the median value home," City Administrator Clint Gridley said during the council's Sept. 13 workshop. "The factor is, if home values are growing — which they are — then that median value impact is going to be higher. Last year, the median home value didn't go up."

A final tax levy and budget will be approved in December.

  • The city's $84,169,680 proposed 2018 budget represents a nearly $3 million increase over last year.

Gridley said the main factors driving the increase are needs stemming from Woodbury's growth: more staff, more technology and equipment and more infrastructure needs.

The city's population increase by about 11 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • Public safety calls for fire and ambulance services increase 11 percent over last year, with a more than 440-call increase between 2009 and 2017.

The preliminary budget includes two new full-time paramedics to keep up with the growing number of calls.

Woodbury police will also be able to hire a new full-time employee to manage footage from officers' body-worn cameras following the department's four-month pilot program with the devices that wrapped up in August.

The budget also funds two new full-time public works employees, one of which would work with the forestry division and another in water and sewer utilities.

  • Among the major items in the budget are infrastructure updates including $11.5 million for road rehabilitation and replacements, $3.3 million in rehabilitation for the city's aging sewer and $2.5 million in master plan improvements to Ojibway Park.

Funding in the budget would also pay for public safety equipment like $67,000 for new police vehicles, $24,000 to replace scheduling software and $20,000 to replace bulletproof vests that will expire soon.

The budget allocates minimal spending on new fire department equipment and includes a combined increase of nearly $80,000 for full and part-time employees' salaries.