Albert Lea city council approves tax levy increase

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(ABC 6 News) – The Albert Lea city council approved its property tax levy increase Monday evening.

The city council approved an increase of 5.75 percent in its property tax levy for next year — the city says this increase is needed to keep up with inflation.

“I don’t want to see this city not go forward. So I am going to support this even though I hope somehow in the future I think we’ve done as much as we possibly can,” councilmember Al Brooks said.

The increase of 5.75 percent is lower than the 6.5%-increase that was first proposed.

All council members voted for the tax levy increase, although not all were fully on board with it, after hearing from their constituents about the cost of living right now with inflation and health care costs.

A landlord in Albert Lea addressed the council with his concerns over the tax levy increase and how it will affect his renters.

“The tax increase is going to reflect what would take a $27 a month increase to every single one of our renters to keep up. We can’t do that to our renters now it’s just not economically the time to be able to do that to each of our renters,” said Robert Hoffman.

The proposed levy totals 7.3 million dollars, which is up almost 400 thousand dollars from 2022. That increase, the city says, is to cover increases in health care and inflation.

The council also approved the increased water and sewer utility rates at 5 percent for water and a 7 percent increase for sewer. For an average user, this will roughly be an additional $4 a month.

The council also approved the 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Plan.

Monday evening’s meeting was also the last of the year which means it was the last meeting for Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. and council members Reed Olson and Al Brooks.

New mayor Rich Murray and new council members will take over in January.