Preliminary tax levy vs final tax levy comparison
To the editor:
I thought The Journal’s readers would be interested in the past history regarding City of New Ulm preliminary levies and the final levy adopted.
Far from being a conspiracy or bait and switch, as some have suggested, there have been years that the City Council needed to work out the financing of operations due to political/financial uncertainties that they may have faced, like increased sales tax project operation cost and loss of LGA, both occurring in 2003, and the years 2005 and 2006 were Local Government Aid funding related, or like this time, a last minute decision on how to fund the acquisition of a $1.5 million parcel of industrial land, by including $1 million of it in the levy, until staff could figure it out and come back with a funding recommendation.
The “put it all in the budget and take it out if we can finance it another way” process has been used many times to deal with funding city services. The one big project amount of $1 million is really the only change. The other large preliminary levy years were made up of many smaller amounts for various purposes or projects, and when a budget item was removed, it didn’t make such a dramatic reduction of 70 percent of the proposed increase.
One could argue that it is or is not a good way of setting the preliminary budget, but as you can see, it is used only when there is a need. You will note that in other years we try to keep the preliminary levy relatively close to what is needed for the final levy. Through the direction of the City Council, you can see that there were additional adjustments made, resulting in a 1.9 percent proposed increase in the levy, instead of the 2.5 percent target the City Council requested.
Brian D. Gramentz
New Ulm City Manager