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Woodbury city staff propose 3.79 percent tax levy hike

Woodbury residents could see a 3.79 percent tax levy increase for 2018 if the city council approves current administrative recommendations in December.

Population increase, inflation and special levies all factored into city administration's calculations for the increase.

The amount falls slightly short of the 3.83 percent increase the city approved for 2017, which adds nearly $4 million to the city's annual budget for a total of $81.3 million.

Although city staff had originally planned to fund a request for two additional paramedics, City Finance Director Tim Johnson said the city will likely not have to rely on its EMS levy fund.

"I can tell you that the ambulance run routing is substantially higher than what we predicted," he said during the July 19 council workshop. "As a result, the revenue from those ambulance runs can pay for two paramedics."

Christopher Burns, the sole council member to oppose the 2017 tax levy increase, voice similar opposition to the proposed 2018 increase.

"It's too much," Burns said at the workshop. "That's no surprise for me to oppose raising taxes."

City Administrator Clint Gridley said Woodbury's growing population calls for more funding for services like police and public works.

"As inflation grows, that has impacts on the cost of materials, and as we have special levies, whether it be road reconstruction program, paramedic program, tax abatement districts..." Gridley said. "Those all have to be accounted for, and this mechanism, I think, has been a good way for us to account for all that."

Council members will choose whether or not to adopt the tax levy in September. The final vote is scheduled for Woodbury's Truth-in-Taxation meeting in December.

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