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Woodbury budget reflects growth, additional revenue

Woodbury is expected to continue growing in 2014, bringing in nearly $300,000 in revenue from development fees and permits.

The city is proposing a 2.8 percent increase in the property tax levy, the fourth lowest in 20 years, with a slight increase in the average value home's tax bill.

City Administrator Clint Gridley said the city is doing well financially, despite the fact that it doesn't benefit from franchise fees, a municipal liquor store or state government aid.

"Even if you strip all that out, I think we're in a strong position," he said.

The proposed 2014 levy would add $6 to the average value home's property tax bill, while some others may see an increase or a decrease depending on market value.

For example, the average Stonemill Farms home would see a decrease of about $19, while homes in the Evergreen neighborhood would see an increase of $11. A home in Rural Homestead would see an increase of about $56, due to decreasing home values, while a home in Ridgegate would see a $10 impact.

"In the last six years, it's been a pretty consistent levy change," Gridley said.

Though the average Woodbury home is still valued at $245,000, it is the first time since 2008 that property values have been on the upswing.

To affect the property tax, the levy is divided by the tax capacity to create a property tax rate. Then this rate is multiplied against the individual property valuation per $1,000 to create the tax bill.

Average market values had been dropping since the height of the recession, from around $300,000 to $235,000 last year.

The total estimated $69.8 million budget reflects a 4 percent increase in the general fund to pay for new hires and personnel services.

The city is proposing to add seven new positions, including staff in parks, police and engineering.

Woodbury City Council reviewed the proposed budget at a workshop Wednesday, Aug. 28. A preliminary levy will be set at an upcoming meeting and the final levy will be adopted in December.

Some 2014 proposed budget highlights

nTwo new police officers to bring the force to 69 sworn officers and personnel, including 15 trained as police officers/firefighters.

nRevenues from new home construction and from basement finishes and significant remodeling will bring in additional budget dollars.

nAn increase of $25,000 for snow and ice control material, as well as additional dollars for road maintenance.

nA flat Housing and Redevelopment Authority levy of $250,000.

nProperty taxes total $21 million and are 72 percent of the general fund revenues.

nNo water or sewer rate changes are proposed.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.