City of Farmington's budget shrinks from preliminary figureAfter months of tweaking and redefining priorities, the Farmington City Council has received a final 2013 budget and property tax breakdown. The final proposal, brought by city administrator David McKnight during a Monday night budget workshop, shows a net tax levy of $8,718,968 for 2013. That represents a 1.79 percent increase — or $152,986 — over the 2012 levy of $8,565,982.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
After months of tweaking and redefining priorities, the Farmington City Council has received a final 2013 budget and property tax breakdown.
The final proposal, brought by city administrator David McKnight during a Monday night budget workshop, shows a net tax levy of $8,718,968 for 2013. That represents a 1.79 percent increase — or $152,986 — over the 2012 levy of $8,565,982.
The amount also reflects a decrease from the amount originally proposed when council members approved a preliminary tax levy in September. The preliminary levy was $8,808,865, which represented a $242,883 increase over the 2012 approved levy.
The biggest cause for the decrease, McKnight said, was that a second fire vehicle meant for the fire chiefs was delayed from the 2013 budget to the 2014 budget. A new fire engine on order now, planned as part of the 2013 budget, is expected to arrive early next year.
As presented Monday, the levy represents an increase of up to $8 for Farmington’s highest-valued homes, and a decrease of as much as $100 for the lower-valued homes, based on the calculations that will come from Dakota County. Commercial businesses in Farmington can expect an increase of anywhere from $2 to $600, depending on the valuation of those properties.
Council members Julie May and Jason Bartholomay were critical of the amounts to fund two school resource officers built into the next year’s budget. Farmington’s three SROs have been jointly funded by Independent School District 192 and the city of Farmington for the past several years, but the school district cut funding for two of the three positions for next year. The school district will still jointly fund one SRO position.
May has called for elimination of the additional school resource officers through most of the city’s budget cycle. Bartholomay wants to see proof that the SROs provide a value to the city and the schools.
But that’s not how Farmington mayor Todd Larson sees the police funding. Larson admitted to questioning the expenditure as well, but then learned a couple of Farmington’s police officers are looking at retirement in a few years.
“After realizing there are one to two officers close to retirement, I couldn’t see cutting positions now and rehiring when they go,” Larson said. “It will be cheaper for us in the long run.”
Though the city is no longer required by law to hold a truth in taxation hearing, the city council will have a public hearing to review the 2013 budget and levy in December for residents.