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Woodbury council approves $78 million budget

It will cost about $8.8 million less to conduct city business in Woodbury in 2016, but property taxes are still increasing for the coming year.

As part of the annual Truth in Taxation public hearing Dec. 9, Woodbury City Administrator Clint Gridley shared details of the $77.8 million budget planned for the coming year.

Councilmembers adopted a $31.7 million property tax levy, representing a 3.86 increase over 2015, as part of last week’s meeting.

The impact of that levy increase is 3.52 percent; or an increase of $35 in property taxes on a median-value, $290,500 property in Woodbury. Broken out over 12 months, the owner of an average valued home will pay about $85.75 monthly, or $1,029 over the year, Gridley said. However, depending upon the way each home’s value has increased or decreased. Some Woodbury residents could see a decrease in their taxes.

The lion’s share of the 2016 budget is wrapped up in the city’s $31.8 million general fund, which essentially covers all of the day to day operations within the city of Woodbury. About 70 percent of the revenue, $22.1 million, in the general fund comes through property taxes. That is a 3.7 percent increase over 2015’s $21.4 million.

The general fund includes the addition of several staff positions for the coming year. Two police officers, one public service worker, and a communications technician were added to the roster with the coming year’s budget. Another $361,856 was allocated through the Emergency Medical Services fund to cover the addition of four new paramedics to Woodbury’s public safety staff in 2016.

“We’ve let our police staffing, through the tight financial situation we’ve been in over the years, fall below some of the standards that we want,” Gridley said. “We’ve had trouble meeting some of the benchmarks, so through a lot of conversation, you’ll see as part of this budget, there is a significant increase in our EMS and police support.”

The balance of next year’s expenditures is tied up in the other city funds — water and sewer utility, storm water utility, EMS, Eagle Valley Golf Course, Bielenberg Sports Center, capital improvement, public safety activities, and park dedication are among those funds. Of the additional funds, the Street Reconstruction/Maintenance Fund shows a nearly $4.7 million increase in the coming year.

At this time last year, Woodbury City Council members approved a $86.8 million budget for 2015. The 2016 budget, adopted last week, does show a more than 10 percent decrease in expenditures. Most of that difference, Gridley said, is due to an $8.4 million in the city’s debt service fund expenditures.

“We’ve paid off some debt, we’ve done some refinancing, so we’re glad to see that number decrease, but it’s part of a refinancing thing we did last year with some bonding,” Gridley said.

Woodbury City Council members approved the 2016 budget and levy on a 4-1 vote, with council member Christopher Burns casting the dissenting vote. Residents can view the newly adopted budget on the city’s website, www.ci.woodbury.mn.us/finance/city-budget. Residents may also watch the Truth in Taxation hearing by following the “Watch Meetings Online” link on the city website’s main page.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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