Benson levy to increase 4.5 percent in '09
BENSON -- The city of Benson's levy for 2009 will increase 4.5 percent as the city's tax base increases by 9 percent. City manager Rob Wolfington said the City Council approved the preliminary 4.5 percent levy increase along with an identical inc...
BENSON -- The city of Benson's levy for 2009 will increase 4.5 percent as the city's tax base increases by 9 percent.
City manager Rob Wolfington said the City Council approved the preliminary 4.5 percent levy increase along with an identical increase for the city's 2009 budget during Monday's regular meeting.
In 2009, Benson will spend $3,139,586 while asking taxpayers for $860,706 for the general fund levy and $79,247 for a general obligation swimming pool levy. All figures are 4.5 percent greater than in 2008, Wolfington said.
A key component to the levy and budget increases, Wolfington said, is the city's increase in tax base. A tax base increase materialized from Fibrominn's plant completion and a string of finished new construction in 2008.
The city's tax base will increase about $12 million to about $155 million in 2009, Wolfington said. Of the $12 million, about half of the increase, or 4.5 percent, derives from new construction in the area, including 17 new housing starts from 2007.
"If you simply add $10 million of new valuation, and it's just increases in property and no new construction, it doesn't do anything to the percentage of the tax that you pay," Wolfington said.
"But if you add tax base, and some or all of it is new construction, then everyone pays less because the pot is actually fatter."
Wolfington said it's too early to know how Benson's finances finalize since the city tax capacity numbers haven't been calculated yet. "But I think it's going to be about a wash," he said.
Much of the city's money in 2009, Wolfington said, will go to city personnel, increasing fuel expenses, oil for street sealcoating and for Benson emergency services.
"You can't point to one villain," Wolfington said. "Some departments are up a couple of percentages, some are down a couple percentages."
The City Council will have until December to make deductions to its budget and levy.