St. Louis County Board passes 1.5 percent levy hikeThe board voted unanimously for a $113.4 million levy budget for 2014, up from $111.7 million this year and $110 million in 2012.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
St. Louis County commissioners approved a 1.5 percent levy increase for 2014 this morning.
The board voted unanimously for a $113.4 million levy budget for 2014, up from $111.7 million this year and $110 million in 2012. That’s the budget paid for by local property taxes and covering things like law enforcement, road maintenance, snowplowing and other basic services.
The board met in the Morse town hall in Ely for its last meeting of the year.
The extra money that comes for the levy increase will be spent on increased debt service to start paying for the complete refurbishing of the Government Services Center in Duluth, a $22 million project just under way. The county is paying for the project, as it does most major construction, by issuing bonds paid back over time, much like a mortgage.
The 1.5 percent increase could raise the county’s share of property taxes on a $150,000 Duluth home by about 90 cents per year and raise taxes about $2.80 per year on a $150,000 home on the Iron Range. That doesn’t include tax increases by township, city or school districts.
Despite the levy increase, many homeowners may see their tax go down, county officials said, thanks to that increased property value and more money from the state intended to offset property taxes.
Overall, the county will handle an estimated $319.6 million in 2014, with more than $200 million of that being so-called “pass through” money from the state and federal governments, much of it to fund social services such as health care and financial assistance, as well as major road and bridge construction.