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Afton approves 2013 preliminary budget, levy

Afton City Council took a significant step forward in its budget process last week.

During a special meeting on Sept. 4, City Council approved the preliminary 2013 budget and the preliminary 2013 tax levy.

The preliminary budget is set at $1,068,717, an increase of $22,791 - or 2.2 percent - over this year's budget.

The preliminary 2013 general fund levy is set at $882,007, an increase of $22,766 -or 2.6 percent - over the 2012 general fund levy.

The total levy, which includes the general fund levy and the debt service and transfer levies, is proposed to be $1,617,375. That increase is a $44,053, or 2.8 percent, increase over 2012.

Based on the proposed levy, the city's tax rate would increase by 1.6 percent.

The proposed budget and tax levy would result in the city's share of property taxes on a home valued at $200,000 being $552.74, an increase of $7.73, or 1.4 percent.

For a home valued at $400,000 the city's share of property taxes would be $1,219.21 - an increase of $17.29, or 1.4 percent.

Some key items affecting the 2013 budget include:

• Expenditures related to the city administrator salary are up $17,000 to reflect the current pay level. The Personnel Committee is in the process of working with the interim city administrator regarding a proposal for a longer term employment relationship.

• Costs related to the general liability insurance have been reduced by $18,000 due to a substantial reduction in the level of claims.

• Fire and ambulance service expenditures are up $10,156, or 5.4 percent, per the 2012 fire service budget.

• Street maintenance/

sweeping/pothole repair expenditures are proposed to increase from $10,000 to $21,000, which is an increase of $11,000 or 110 percent, to reflect actual maintenance needs and costs.

• Transfer to the street improvement fund is proposed at $190,000, which is an increase of $19,000 or 11.1 percent over the 2012 amount of $171,000.

• The transfer to the road debt service fund is increasing by $10,000, or 3.5 percent, to reflect increase debt service amounts on the road paving bonds per the debt service schedule.

• Transfer to the audit and legal reserve fund is proposed to be reduced from $20,000 to $1,000 due to the elimination of the needs to fund legal expenses.

With the approval of the 2013 preliminary budget and tax levy, Afton City Council cannot increase the budget or the levy. However, City Council can decrease either.

"We usually have at it again in November," City Council Member Peg Nolz said.

Afton City Council will hold its Truth-in-Taxation Hearing, which is required to be held by law, at 7 p.m. Dec. 18, during its regular City Council meeting,

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

(651) 702-0976