Crow Wing County property tax to increase 3.99%

The County Board of Directors on Tuesday, December 14, unanimously agreed to set the levy at $ 42,908,106, which is about 43% of the county’s projected revenue of $ 100,104,568 for next year. . This is the first time in the history of Crow Wing County that the amount of money the county will raise is expected to exceed the $ 100 million mark. Expected expenses fell just short – $ 99,911,854.

The impact of this increased levy on the average county owner depends on a number of factors, including changes in the value of their own property and the number of additional taxpayers added to the rolls through new construction. , which, along with market value, affects the overall tax rate.

An analysis from the county showed an expected value of $ 140,573,617 of new construction in 2021, a 26% increase from 2020 and the highest total in a decade. While next year is expected to see a slight dip to $ 134.3 million, that would still be just over 1% of estimated market value. That figure for all of Crow Wing’s properties combined is expected to reach $ 12.94 billion next year, also a decade high and more than $ 3 billion above market value in 2013.

– County Administrator Tim Houle

With this projected change in market value taken into account, the owner of an average residential property in Brainerd – valued at $ 136,800 in 2022 – would see a $ 5 increase in the county’s tax portion, from 421 $ to $ 426. The owner of a commercial / industrial property in Baxter valued at $ 1,044,000 would experience a decrease in county taxes of $ 293, from $ 6,487 to $ 6,364. And the owner of a seasonal recreational property in Crosslake worth an average of $ 420,400 would pay $ 52 more, or $ 1,329 instead of $ 1,277.

County administrator Tim Houle noted after Tuesday’s meeting that some areas of the county are experiencing more dramatic fluctuations in market value – in particular, the Crosby / Ironton area, where economic growth is fueled by lure touristic for the mountain bike trails of the Cuyuna State Recreation Area. .

“There is even more upward movement in property values ​​this year and we are all seeing what is happening in the construction trades. This will make it a very difficult year for those with the biggest increases in value, as they take a larger chunk of the total tax base, ”Houle wrote in an email. “This is a year when there will be more people who will need to register for the state’s property tax refund programs, and we can help them find the right forms.”

While property taxes are expected to account for 43% of total county revenues next year, intergovernmental revenues – such as grants, cost-sharing agreements, and other financial arrangements with other units of government – would account for 35 %. Other taxes (9%), including the local option sales tax supporting road projects, and service charges (7%) constitute the bulk of the remaining revenue.

The increase in intergovernmental revenues is linked to state and federal government assistance as well as local participation in road projects included in the highway improvement plan, according to Nick Mielke, chief financial officer. There are also some increases in state and federal grants in the area of ​​community services.

Of the $ 42.9 million in taxes that will be collected in 2022, most of it will support community services and public safety. Almost a third of taxes will go to community services – the county department responsible for adult services, child support, child and family services, community corrections, public health, financial assistance, nutritional support and veterans services. Public safety departments – including the sheriff’s office and the county jail – will receive 30% of the property taxes collected.

“Public security services depend mainly on the fee itself. They have outside funding, but it’s very limited, ”Mielke said. “Community services, on the other hand, are an area that depends on both license fees and external funding. There are many mandates and laws that require us to do certain activities that we have not necessarily funded by the state that generates the financial needs for them. And there are areas that the state and the federal government need to do things and we get grants or other funding for those. “

The rest of the taxes collected will be distributed among the other county departments and spending areas – administrative services (13%), governance services (11%), land services (6%), road services (4%) and projects of fixed assets (4%). No tax levy will be used to pay off a small amount of the remaining debt, which includes airport obligations and a small portion for the installation of the Crosslake Highways Department. Instead, this $ 98,000 budget line will be covered by money already in the county’s possession and represents the final payment of debt of any kind for the county.

Of all the county departments, the sheriff’s office and jail would see the largest increase in the amount of property taxes supporting its programming with 14% more next year than this year.

In an earlier budget discussion, Mielke explained that while the sheriff’s office portion of the tax would increase, actual spending is expected to fall by 2% year over year. The fund balance of about $ 1.8 million was used this year to fund the sheriff’s office, and the increase in debit spending reflects a decision to consolidate this account again.

Another factor is a loss of revenue for the prison due to the Minnesota Department of Corrections withdrawal from state prisoner accommodation in Crow Wing during the pandemic. This created an estimated $ 1 million hole in the sheriff’s office budget. Houle said on Wednesday that although the number of prisoners housed had not returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, that revenue stream was slowly rebounding.

Investment income is another area the county is seeing impacts, with income projected next year at around half of what was budgeted for in 2021.

“We continue to see our investment portfolios be challenged by the reduction in interest rates, and we continue to look for ways to improve our investment income,” said Mielke. “We continue to go far with this, but we don’t anticipate that this is going to be a correction that is going to occur in 2022. I want to be realistic with what we expect for investment income.”

More notable changes between this year and next are occurring in the area of ​​investment projects, spending which is expected to more than double in 2022. Investment projects refer to maintenance or improvement projects of the county’s physical assets, from computers to vehicles to buildings. . The resolution passed by council on Tuesday also included approval of the capital improvement plan.

– Chief Financial Officer Nick Mielke

While the increase is striking, the $ 4 million forecast for next year is more in line with a typical spending year after two years of heavy spending. years of much lower than normal capital expenditure. In 2020, the board agreed to put its capital improvement plan on hold amid uncertainty surrounding the financial impact of COVID-19. Supply chain disruptions caused by a pandemic have further reduced spending in this area as this year approaches, Houle noted.

Among the most powerful proposals is a multi-year construction of the judicial center. The Judicial Center project would include the construction of Courtroom 2, Judges Chambers and Courtroom 2 – these rooms are already located in the Judicial Center, but were never completed when the building was completed. been built for the first time. This three-year project is expected to cost $ 1,315,000, with costs of $ 410,420 in 2022.

A redevelopment of the community services building previously submitted for review will not go ahead next year. This project would have included modifications to the reception and reception area for customer service as well as to the offices on the ground floor, for a total estimated cost of $ 2.4 million over four years.

The 2022 budget will include the addition of 11.5 full-time equivalent employees to the county’s workforce. This represents a 2.3% increase in the number of full-time equivalents.

The council resolution setting the amount of the levy also resulted in a number of other measures, including the fixing of the tax levies for the two unorganized territories of the county, the levy for the Crow Wing County Housing and Residential Authority and the amounts to redistribute five Development Commissions, the Cuyuna Range Hospital District and the Kitchigami Regional Library System to the region.

In the first evaluation district, the levy will increase by 5.5% to reach $ 1.13 million. In the Second Assessment District, formerly Dean Lake Township, the levy will increase by 29% – $ 61,202 from $ 47,450 in 2021. This increase is due in part to a clerical error in 2020 which resulted in results in residents being taxed on a $ 36,000 levy instead of a $ 62,000 levy.

The levy for the HRA did not change between 2021 and 2022, remaining at $ 729,500. Region Five, whose allocation was $ 161,997, will receive $ 5,805 more next year than this year. The hospital district amount remained the same at $ 200,000, as did the library allowance, which is $ 509,127.

CHELSEY PERKINS, Community Editor, can be reached at 218-855-5874 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter at

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