St. Louis County Board considers 2022 preliminary levy

By Dana Kazel
The St. Louis County Board has given initial approval for the 2022 maximum property tax levy in the amount of $156,496,531. Factoring in the 4.25% growth in the property tax base, St. Louis County property owners will see an average increase of 1.69% on the county portion of their property tax bill.

When the property tax base grows, the total levy amount is divided among more people. That’s why, even though the proposed levy is 5.94% higher than in 2021, the actual impact will be much lower. As an example, the owner of a home valued at $200,000 would pay approximately $18 more in property taxes next year.

The proposed 2022 levy:

. Supports current staffing levels and corresponding salary and benefit commitments

. Continues ongoing investments in public health and human services — addressing the need to support individuals’ behavioral health including county staffing for adult mental health case management, which is more imperative than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic

. Makes critical investments in Public Works to ensure reliable fleet equipment and upgraded, sustainable facilities

. Reflects investments in planning, zoning, and economic development initiatives

“Considering we are still dealing with a pandemic and must remain prepared for the unexpected, I am proud of this Board and of staff for getting the levy amount to this level,” said St. Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson, who chairs the board’s Finance Committee. “These are extraordinarily challenging times; and this levy strikes a balance of supporting the services our citizens need, while keeping the tax impact as minimal as possible.”

The vote today was part of the Board’s Committee of the Whole meeting, and was unanimous. The final vote will occur during the next County Board meeting on September 14.

Minnesota counties are required by law to set their maximum property tax levy – that portion of the budget collected through property taxes – by the end of September. As the board and staff work to finalize the 2022 budget over the next few months, the levy amount may be reduced, but it cannot increase. Commissioners will vote on the final capital and operating budget on December 14.

Two meetings have been set to collect public input on the levy and budget. They will be on Monday, November 22, at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia, and the following Monday, November 29, at the Government Services Center-Duluth. Both meetings will start at 7 p.m.

Citizens also may provide input at any county board meeting, or by contacting commissioners directly. Contact information can be found at stlouiscountymn.gov/countyboard.

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