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Woodbury Council Approves 2013 Budget, Levy

The average value home in Woodbury will see a $6 increase in taxes in 2013.

Despite $220,000 in cuts over the past few months, most Woodbury residents will still see a slight increase in their 2013 taxes.

The Woodbury City Council on Wednesday approved the 2013 budget and levy. The increase on the average value home is expected to be $6.

Home values in Woodbury are still in decline, City Administrator Clint Gridley said, though new housing units are up this year and sheriff’s sales are down.

“Our market is healing,” he said.

Still, because home values are down, tax rates will go up for many in Woodbury. It’s estimated that 57.5 percent of homeowners will see an increase.

That increase (or decrease) depends on the assessed value of a home. Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens noted that the value of her home has gone down while her taxes are expected to go up.

It’s a common concern for residents, Gridley said, noting that property values distribute the tax burden but do not create it.

“Your piece of the tax pie grew,” he said.

One issue for Woodbury, Gridley said, was that the city through the state’s fiscal-disparity program. Woodbury is part of the “biggest losers group,” he said.

The total budget was set at $61,870,789 and the levy portion at $28,853,229. The 2013 levy increase is 2.4 percent over last year, when it did not increase, and the city over the past 20 years has averaged an 11 percent bump.

Highlights of the 2013 budget include the hiring of two new police officer-firefighter positions, a 5.5 percent increase in the street reconstruction levy and a $219,635 bump in the capital-improvement levy, Gridley said.

The measure passed 4-1, with Councilman Christopher Burns against.

He told Patch he was “steadfast” in his desire to see no increase next year, though he added that the budget approved Wednesday was better than the one initially proposed.

Burns said the city could have cut back on funds for roads and capital improvements.

“I think it was eminently doable,” he said.

Managing the budget as the nation continues its economic recovery has been challenging, Councilman Paul Rebholz said. Woodbury is a growing city, and officials have to balance increased services with keeping taxes in check, he said.

Woodbury is always looking to be more efficient with tax dollars, Rebholz said, adding that the city’s housing numbers are “the envy of many people in the metro area.”

 

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