December 4, 2017 Truth-in-Taxation Public Hearing and Input Meeting Minutes


December 4, 2017 City Council Truth-in-Taxation

Public Hearing and Input Minutes

6:00 P.M.


A Truth-in-Taxation Public Hearing and Input meeting of the City Council of the City of International Falls, Minnesota, was held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building on the 4th day of December, 2017 at the hour of 6:00 P.M.


MEMBERS PRESENT:     Councilors Briggs, Droba, Jaksa, Pearson and Mayor Anderson.


STAFF PRESENT:    Kenneth Anderson, City Administrator

    Betty Bergstrom, Deputy City Administrator

    Brad Ettestad, Finance Officer

    Emma Rud, Administration Support Specialist    



  1. Presentation of proposed City of International Falls 2018 Budget and Levy Collectible in 2018, Kenneth R. Anderson, City Administrator.
  2. City Council questions/comments.
  3. Public input/questions/comments.
  4. Close the public hearing or recess to continue at a future date (Council action-motion).
  5. Approval of the resolution adopting the 2018 budget and levy will be at the regular City Council meeting of December 18, 2017.


Presentation of proposed City of International Falls 2018 Budget and Levy Collectible in 2018

City Administrator Kenneth Anderson indicated an information packet that was prepared by staff included the following items: 1) Summary of the 2018 proposed Budget and Levy – Highlights in Review; 2) Draft Resolution Approving the Final 2017 Tax Levy, Collectible 2018 and 2018 Budget for the City of International Falls, MN, with Exhibit A anticipated to be adopted December 18, 2017; 3) Pie charts illustrating Proposed 2018 Revenues and Expenditures, 4) Local Government Aid (LGA) bar chart for amounts received in years 2006 through 2018 (Proposed); 5) Bar chart reflecting LGA and Property Tax Levy Trends for 2010 through 2018 (Proposed); 6) Table of LGA for years 2002 – 2018 illustrating $1,105,150 in past reductions/unallotments of actual LGA paid to the City; 7) LGA and Property Tax Levy Trends and Changes for years 2010 – 2018; 8) 2018 Summary of Partnership Agency Funding; and finally, 9) miscellaneous background information including a listing of preliminary city, county, and school district levy changes for area jurisdictions, statewide proposed property tax levies, certified city levies and local government aid, cities replacing aging water and sewer pipes, and why your property taxes change from year to year.


Administrator Anderson started his 25 minute presentation with a review of highlights and expenditures by fund as listed in Exhibit A. He noted that LGA was certified to increase by $93,014 in 2018. The actual tax levy was proposed to increase in the amount of $211,457 or 9% over the levy for 2017. The statewide average increase in the 2018 preliminary levies for all cities is 6.8%. The total amount of LGA from the State is proposed to be $4,124,091. The total property tax levy is proposed to be $2,560,976.


City Council questions/comments

There were no questions from the City Council.


Public input/questions/comments

Mayor Anderson welcomed comments from the audience. Roger Jackson of 100 Riverview Blvd; Robert Byman of 320 Shorewood Drive; and Tricia Heibel of the Chamber of Commerce were present to address the City Council.


Roger Jackson, 100 Riverview Blvd, inquired as to how it is prioritized and determined which roads need fixing. Mayor Anderson explained that a study has just been completed in which every city block was evaluated and ranked on a scale of 1 to 6 in terms of its condition. Currently, the estimated need for street repairs is over $7 million. A study to evaluate the water and sewer systems is currently being done. Until the City receives the water study, no major street work will be done, because it is best to make sure street and water/sewer repairs coincide with one another. Councilor Droba reiterated that the City is far behind in repairs and the City is looking at doing a bond in order to finance and complete necessary repairs in a timely fashion. Mayor Anderson stated we have improved 15th Street in 2017 using municipal state-aid monies. He said we are proposing to do 9th Avenue between 11th and 17th Streets and Crescent Drive in 2018. In addition to issuing street improvement bonds, he said other options include continuing to do road repairs with levy dollars as we have in the past or we could seek approval of a sales tax. He said the sales tax requires City Council approval, approval of the citizens in a public referendum, and also approval of the State Legislature. The Mayor indicated 25 rural cities currently have a sales tax in place.


Robert Byman, 320 Shorewood Drive, inquired as to why the city share of his property taxes has increased by approximately 90% over the past 10 years. Councilor Jaksa explained the fact that the net tax capacity rate has changed drastically in recent years with Boise receiving a large tax reduction. She said their annual property tax has been reduced from approximately $3 million to $700,000. Jaksa explained that when one organization’s tax valuation changes drastically, that portion shifts forcing the general public to pick up the difference. Councilor Briggs indicated that perhaps the Byman’s property valuation has increased, in turn increasing his taxes.


Tricia Heibel, representing the Chamber of Commerce, got clarification on the three labor unions and the effective date on the school district referendum tax impacts. Heibel also inquired as to whether the water rates are going to see an increase in 2018. Mayor Anderson responded that we are being mandated by the state to reconfigure our water rates to model conservation rates. The City is no longer able to include 2,000 gallons as a part of the base rate. Councilor Droba explained that the water rates have been an extremely difficult topic and the Budget & Finance Committee has looked at many rate structures, and feel the one they are proposing impacts low water use consumers as little as possible.


CLOSED the public hearing

There being no further public comment, Mayor Anderson closed the public input meeting and hearing at 7:02 P.M.

Mayor Anderson further explained the proposed Resolution Approving the Final 2018 Tax Levy, Collectible 2018 and 2018 Budget for the City of International Falls, MN, would be on the December 18, 2017 regular meeting agenda for action by the City Council.



Mayor Anderson adjourned the meeting at 7:02 P.M.





ATTEST:                        Robert W. Anderson, Mayor




Kenneth R. Anderson, City Administrator

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