Budget proposal could increase Duluth's property taxes, draw fro - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Budget proposal could increase Duluth's property taxes, draw from reserve funds

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City Council approves maximum tax levy City Council approves maximum tax levy
DULUTH, MN -

The Duluth City Council is considering a budget proposal that would increase local property taxes and draw more than a million dollars from reserves. 

Duluth Mayor, Emily Larson has proposed to increase the city levy by 5.7% overall for the owner of an average-priced $177,000 home. The impact would be $30 more for 2018. 

City officials say Mayor Larson expects the city to dip into its reserve funds next year as well to invest in a nearly $900,000 community solar garden which is expected to save $2 million in Duluth's energy costs over the next 25 years. 

She also hopes to draw over $730,000 from reserves to anticipate overtime costs in Duluth's fire departments.

Mayor Larson's budget proposal includes nearly $2 million in cuts and $1 million for funding street repairs. 

City councilors have brought forth two amendments to redirect some of the budget money without increasing the total levy. 

Councilor Zack Filipovich has proposed $900,000 for street improvements and another $100,000 for police records keeping staff.

Filipovich says, "This [budget] lays out the priorities for the city for the next year. So it's very very important that we get this correct because it also sets up future budgets in 2019 and beyond."

Councilors Em Westerlund and Joel Sipress proposed the second amendment, also $100,000 for police records staff, $825,000 for streets, and $75,000 for parks maintenance positions. 

If one or both of proposed amendments pass during Monday's city council meeting, the council will postpone voting on the 2018 budget until the following week. 

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