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Silver Bay postpones budget vote

The Silver Bay City Council last week tabled votes on the city's 2018 budget, levy and wage schedule until this week.

The move comes after a discrepancy in net tax capacity figures revealed the Silver Bay levy would have a higher impact on taxpayers in the city than originally thought. The council now will meet to consider the budget, levy and wage schedule at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Over the summer, the net tax capacity number provided by the Lake County Assessor's Office indicated a 1.7 percent increase, meaning Silver Bay could raise its levy by a similar amount with no impact to local taxpayers.

However, the latest numbers provided by the county show a 4.8 percent decrease in the net tax capacity. The 7.4 percent proposed levy increase would cost $126.58 on a homestead valued at $100,000 — a nearly 11 percent increase over the 2017 tax bill. It remains unclear why the numbers changed between the initial figures provided and those used by the county for the final calculations.

While the tax notices sent to Silver Bay residents reflected the numbers provided by the county, the numbers provided to the council at its truth in taxation meeting were based on the original figure and were not an accurate representation of the impact of a 7.4 percent increase.

During last week's Lake County Board of Commissioners meeting, Chief Deputy Auditor Ronelle Radle told the board she had worked with Silver Bay City Administrator Lana Fralich and the assessor's office to find out why there was such a large discrepancy between the preliminary net tax capacity and the certified level. The net tax capacity in Silver Bay could have fluctuated by more than 5.5 percent, which Radle said would be unusual, but not impossible, or there could have been an error in the way the numbers were pulled.

At last week's meeting, Silver Bay City Councilor Richard DeRosier advocated for postponing the vote to take a look at what, if anything, could be done to reduce the impact to individual property owners in Silver Bay. He said he also thought it was prudent to wait until all council members were present; councilors Shane Hoff and Dustin Goutermont were unable to attend the meeting.

Any cuts to the proposed budget would likely come from the general, street repair or capital improvement funds. The general fund includes a levy-funded increase of $51,145, which would pay for wage increases for full- and part-time employees as well as a $50 per month per employee increase in health insurance premiums.

The levy also includes an increase of $25,000 in the city's street repair fund and a $20,000 capital improvement fund for future repairs to streets and city buildings.

Projects such as the $325,000 street shop roof and wall repair and the $300,000 renovation of City Hall will be paid for through general fund reserves and loans and would not affect the 2018 levy.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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