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Woodbury City Council Sets 2012 Budget, Levy

The city tax levy will not increase next year.

The Woodbury City Council on Wednesday set the 2012 budget and levy.

The budget will see a 5.1 percent bump from 2011, to $64.56 million, and for the first time in two decades there will be no city tax levy increase.

That doesn’t mean every Woodbury resident will see the same tax bill as last year, however.

City Administrator Clint Gridley noted that the tax levy if fixed and is used to distribute the tax burden. Because property values are still in decline, the tax rate for some homes will increases.

Still, the average increase for a Woodbury homeowner will be $1, Gridley said.

The city will keep costs for services flat in all areas except ambulance service, which will increase 7 percent. This is due to declining Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and increased staff time for documentation work.

Woodbury is also kicking in an additional $563,000 for roadwork, which will help the city stay ahead of future costs for street repairs.

The budget and levy passed 4-1, with Councilman Christopher Burns against. He has often expressed a desire to reduce the budget in an effort to get the $1 figure down to zero for 2012. He was also a proponent for a small tax levy reduction so that the tax on the average value home would be modestly decreased.

Burns did laud city staff and his colleagues for a “good” and “comprehensive” budget process.

Woodbury resident Howard Markus was the lone person to speak during the city’s truth in taxation hearing Wednesday night.

He called Woodbury an affluent, well-run city. “Everything is just A-1,” he said.

But Markus said the city should consider small tax increases each year to ensure the city doesn’t fall behind on infrastructure improvements.

Mayor Mary Guilani Stephens said setting the budget and levy is a balancing act for city leaders, and there is pressure to keep taxes down while providing city services at a high level. (Earlier in the meeting, Gridley said the monthly cost for city services is $77.50.)

Councilman Paul Rebholz, meanwhile, said he wanted to reassure residents that the council does take a long view on the city budget and levy.  

“Where were at today is a very sustainable financial plan going forward,” he said.

Check out video from the meeting.

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