Preliminary budget: 2020 Preliminary property tax levy
In September, the City Council approved a preliminary 2020 property tax levy of $65,461,818. The preliminary tax levy can be reduced, but not increased, before final adoption in December.
This levy funds 69.4% of the City’s General Fund budget. The remainder of the General Fund budget is supported by lodging and admission taxes, license and permit fees, grants and program revenues.
“The preliminary levy reflects a 6% increase over the 2019 levy,” Chief Financial Officer Lori Economy-Scholler said. “Of this, approximately 4.5% would go toward City operations and the remaining 1.5% is needed for payments on existing debt.”
“The vast majority of the budget continues to fund core services, including police, fire, public works and parks and recreation. In addition, the City continues to adjust and expand its services to meet the changing needs of our community,” City Manager Jamie Verbrugge said. “In recent years, the City has devoted increasing resources to sustainability efforts, racial equity and mental health crisis response. These investments are directly aligned with the City Council’s strategic priorities.”
The City’s budget is challenged by rising health insurance costs, a tight labor market and fluctuating construction markets. External factors such as the State’s motor vehicle licensing software, changes in federal franchise fee regulations and the relocation of the Hennepin County courts to downtown Minneapolis also pressure City resources.
Debt service payments are funding needed reconstruction of the City’s roadways and parks. The City’s pavement management program has been in place since 1992 to repair and replace roadways systematically. However, road construction costs continue to increase at an average of 4% annually. More recently, the City has begun to issue debt for regular park improvements. This year’s projects include renovation of the Dred Scott wheelhouse and improvements to the Bloomington Ice Garden.
“The City has aging infrastructure and amenities that require regular reinvestment in order to meet the needs of current and future residents,” Verbrugge said.
The City strives to keep the tax levy affordable while also planning for the future by maintaining appropriate reserves. Ten- and 15-year budget models are used for long-term planning and to ensure that the City can meet future needs while avoiding large swings in the tax levy.
“In Bloomington, the value of City services is one of the best in Hennepin County. What residents pay in City taxes on a median-value home is lower than just about all of our neighboring communities,” Verbrugge said.
The Council will hold a public hearing, Monday, December 2, 7 p.m., in the Council Chambers, prior to adopting a final 2020 levy and budget.
For more information, call 952-563-8791 or email leconomy@BloomingtonMN.gov.