Austin city council approves 2023 tax levy, budget

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(ABC 6 News) – Monday evening, the Austin city council approved a tax levy of 8 million 283 thousand dollars, which is a 4.32 percent tax levy increase. The biggest factor in that increase they say is the growth in the community.

“Some of that is historically paid by new growth within the community usually 1 to 2 percent so we would expect that your house value stayed the same and that you would have probably a 3 to 4 percent tax increase on the city’s line,” said Administrative Service Director, Tom Dankert.

The council also approved an over 39 million dollar city budget for 2023.

Councilmembers also approved the 5-year capital improvement plan of 190 million dollars over the next 5 years. This plan identifies capital projects and big equipment purchases, it is also based on funding.

So, if the funding doesn’t come in from a grant to help pay for a project, then that project will be put on the back burner until there is funding.

The council was also requested to authorize an over $42 million general obligation wastewater revenue note for the city’s wastewater treatment plant project in which director of administrative services Tom Dankert asked the council to reject this PFA loan.

“I’m going to ask you to reject this resolution tonight,” Dankert said.

His reasoning was that the market has changed so significantly in the last six weeks, according to Baker Tilly, the city’s tax firm.

“The discussion with the PFA Monday morning, they certainly understood where we were at and said we have not yet passed a resolution, so we can reject that loan and ask for a lock Tuesday morning and he said I can’t blame you for doing that because the market has changed so significantly,” Dankert said.

The PFA, or Minnesota Public Facilities Authority, said this is the first time they have heard of anyone doing this, but that it is possible.

The council will vote on this new resolution for a PFA loan in the new year.