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County Board Sets Preliminary 2020 Levy

Post Date:09/23/2019 12:30 PM

CHASKA, MINN.—Carver County Commissioners, by a 5-0 vote, approved a preliminary 4.9% levy increase in support of the County’s 2020 fiscal-year budget.

The recommended increase, the same percentage-wise as the 2019 levy, would raise the County’s property-tax share on an average home by $40 annually, or 3.3%, in 2020. The levy is in support of the County’s $146.1 million budget. The preliminary levy increase of $2.8 million establishes the levy ceiling meaning that the levy can’t go higher but can go lower between now and the final approval in December. 

County Administrator David Hemze thanked the Board and staff for their work on crafting the budget. “This budget ensures the County maintains its high quality, efficient delivery of public services while maintaining a prudent fiscal strategy,” he said. “It makes some needed personnel investments but keeps the impact on our taxpayers at a manageable level.

“This budget doesn’t include service level increases, nor does it include a reduction in services. Rather it helps us maintain our service level, which is a challenge when you consider the diversity of services the County delivers from law enforcement to health and human services to libraries to many other critical services for our citizens.”

He added the 4.9% levy increase hovers in the middle of other counties Carver County typically compares itself to in terms of population and budget amounts.

On the negative side, budgeted revenue from inmates in the County Jail are lower than projected, as are recorder fees.

Carver County is the fastest growing county in the state, recently surpassing 100,000 in population in 2018. Average home values in the County grew by 7% to $360,700. Commercial property values rose in value by 6%, while agricultural property value stayed flat for the second straight year. The county staff noted that the number of county employees per 1,000 citizens has remained fairly consistent the past few years, with a slight rise in 2016 due to the increased need for child protection services.

The Board also approved preliminary levy increases of 4.9% for the County’s Water Management Organization, as well as the Regional Rail Authority. The water management’s budget of $802,000 represents a $38,000 increase, which would go towards covering increases in project costs. The rail authority’s $170,000 budget seeks an $8,000 increase, mainly due to increased stewardship costs related to the Minnesota River Bluff regional trail system.

The Truth in Taxation public hearing is Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at Chaska’s Government Center in the Board Room. The Board plans to take its final vote on the levy and budget, at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 4 p.m.

Citizens with questions about the 2020 tax levy and budget or long-term financial plan should contact the Carver County Financial Services Director David Frischmon (952) 361-1506. Information is also available on the county’s financial services division website.

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