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Woodbury Sets Zero Increase For 2012 Tax Levy

The city since 1974 has averaged a 12.8 percent increase in the tax levy; Councilman Burns suggests reducing the budget further.

As City Administrator Clint Gridley put it: “It’s pretty remarkable.”

The Woodbury City Council on Wednesday set the , which will include no increase from 2011. It’s the lowest levy increase in 20 years, Gridley said.

The total levy will be no more than $28.1 million—the council can reduce the amount before the final rate is set but not increase it.

Since 1974, the city has seen an average increase of 12.8 percent in the tax levy, said Gridley, who credited the city’s strong fiscal management and the state’s elimination of the Market Value Homestead Credit for Woodbury’s ability to keep the tax rate flat.

For the average home in Woodbury ($259,000), residents pay $77.50 a month for city services.

“We think we do provide a good value to residents,” Gridley said.

The biggest change in the budget is an additional $563,000 dedicated to . The bump will allow the city to stay on track with road improvements well into the future, Gridley said.

Still, the average Woodbury home in District 833 will likely see a $1 increase in taxes for 2012, prompting Councilman Christopher Burns to ask what it would take to make that number zero as well.

Gridley said the city would have to cut $35,000 in spending to do so.

Considering the state of the economy, Burns said it would be good to send a message to residents that the city will not increase their taxes.

Trimming that $35,000 from the budget and giving residents an assurance that their taxes would not increase is a “phenomenal opportunity,” he said.

Burns made a motion to that effect, but it died for lack of a second. The resolution to set the preliminary tax levy passed 4-1, with Burns—who noted the city could save $26,000 through reductions in newsletters and further utilizing the —against.

Council members said they appreciated Burns’ comments, but also added that the city can still reduce its budget before December and could revisit ways to further trim the budget.

“I don’t want to lock us into that,” Councilwoman Amy Scoggins said.

No one spoke during a public hearing on the preliminary levy.

The city council is expected to hold a truth-in-taxation hearing and approved the tax levy and budget on Dec 14.

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