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Property tax levy for Willmar property owners could increase by 3 percent next year

Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin presented his 2021 budget recommendation Monday night to the Willmar City Council. The recommendation includes a 3 percent increase in the property tax levy to help fund expected increases in operational expenses. The City Council approved the preliminary levy and has until the end of December to set the final levy and budget.

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The 2021 property tax levy in Willmar could go up three percent if the Willmar City Council gives it final approval in December. The council did give preliminary approval of the increase on Monday, but can still lower the amount. File photo / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — The Willmar City Council, at its meeting Monday night, approved a preliminary 3 percent increase in the property tax levy for 2021. The increase would bring in an estimated $308,469 in revenue.

The motion was made following Mayor Marv Calvin's budget presentation.

With the preliminary levy set, the council can decide to reduce the increase but cannot go over the 3 percent already approved.

The recommend budget estimates $17,653,932 in revenue and $18,680,964 in expenses for next year. The city is planning to use $1,027,032 in reserves to make up the difference.

Some budget unknowns include staff wages and health insurance costs and whether the state plans to make any changes to local government aid for either 2020 or 2021. City Administrator Brian Gramentz said union negotiations will begin this fall and health insurance increases should be known prior to final budget approval.

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Capital budget requests from departments, like facility upgrades and vehicle purchases, came in at about $3 million but were reduced during the budgeting process to $1 million.

Over the next few months, city finance staff and the council will work on the recommended budget, to iron out details, before the council votes on the final budget and levy by the end of December.

"We will do our due diligence again," said Councilor Audrey Nelsen.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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