MANKATO — Blue Earth County’s levy is going up no higher than 3.99 percent for Mankato residents. But it will rise only about half that much for other property owners in the county.
The difference comes from the city-to-county transfer of the levy that supports the Mankato library. The money is levied only within the city limits, so the extra tax increase likewise affects only city residents.
The “true” levy increase, as County Administrator Bob Meyer put it Tuesday, is 1.96 percent.
That’s the biggest wrinkle in what looks to be an otherwise routine budget year at the county, which is nonetheless dealing with frozen county aid.
Most of the five commissioners agreed the 2013 levy increase, which can be lowered but not raised, was a good starting point. But none of them displayed much of an appetite for further cuts. If they want a lower levy, they can either suggest cuts themselves or leave that task to Meyer. The administrator still has to close a $14,400 budget gap.
Commissioner Vance Stuehrenberg said business owners have been “hit really hard” with tax increases. But he said bringing the levy down would take cuts.
“We’ve already cut quite a bit,” he said.
The 2013 budget includes a 2 percent raise for county employees and a 1.5 percent increase in health insurance costs. It also reflects predictions of higher prices for gas and highway projects.
It includes three additional positions — one in planning and zoning, a custody officer and a technology staffer.
Because agricultural values are rising so quickly, the modest increase in taxes is less than the tax base increase. In other words, county properties that don’t see a value change should see a slight decrease, about 2.4 percent, in the county portion of their taxes.