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Council approves 3.8 percent tax levy increase

Increasing demands fueled by Woodbury's rapid development and population growth spurred much of the $2.96 million budget increase City Council approved Dec. 13.

The 2018 budget calls for a 3.8 percent increase to the city's property tax levy.

Woodbury residents whose property sits at the city's median value— $296,700— can expect about a $31 increase.

Those homeowners would pay just over $1,000 for the city's portion of property taxes.

Booming construction throughout Woodbury, City Administrator Clint Gridley said, drove the city's total taxable value up by 8 percent for 2018.

The city gained 600 new housing units in 2017.

With council approval, the city's total 2018 property tax levy of $34.1 million represents a $1.24 million increase over last year.

The levy funds a bulk of the city's General Fund, which makes up the largest portion of the city's total budget.

Council members, through a 4-1 vote, approved a 4.2 percent increase over last year for a total budget of $84.1 million — about $2.96 million more than 2017.

Council Member Christopher Burns cast the sole dissenting vote at the city's Truth in Taxation meeting, when the council finalizes its budget.

Personal costs, including additional employees and wage adjustments for existing staff, account for just under half of the increase.

They city's population is projected to soar from about 70,000 residents this year to just under 90,000 by 2040.

Gridley said the population growth means the city will need a bigger workforce to meet the community's evolving needs.

The city plans to add six new full-time positions.

A nearly $666,000 Emergency Medical Services fund will cover the cost of two additional paramedics.

The General Fund will cover an additional administrative employee to process footage collected through the Public Safety's newly-implemented police body camera program, as well as an additional Parks and Forestry employee.

Enterprise funds, self-sustaining reserves generated through water and sewer utilities, will fund another new public works employee.

Spending budgeted for next year also includes about $11.2 million to resurface roads and trails.

About 19 miles of road will undergo rehabilitation next year as part of an ongoing effort starting in 1998 that aims to resurface virtually every city road by 2022.

The budget also includes $3.3 million to improve aging water and sewer infrastructure, which faces issues like infiltration from other water sources and crack and deteriorating pipes.

The Ojibway Park master plan and renovation next year will cost $2.5 million from the Capital Improvement fund, while updating equipment for ongoing capital improvement projects will cost just under $1 million.

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