by Michael Mattison
Those preliminary property tax statements you received in the mail earlier this fall—you can expect a lower number when you receive the final statement as the City of Winthrop reduced its levy to a 4.9 percent increase over last year. The Winthrop City Council held its Truth in Taxation meeting at its regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 28, and finalized its budger and levy for next year. The preliminary property tax statements reflected a levy increase of over 11 percent over last year but through work session and another cut at the meeting, the increase is now at just 4.9 percent. Coming into the meeting on November 28, the tax had been reduced over $360,000 for a 6.78 increase over last year. That was an increase to the levy of $54,000. The largest increases came in three departments. The police budget increased by $97,000 due to the SRO contract ending with the school district. The library increased $23,557 as the city now has control of the library which was previously controlled by Sibley County. Storm water and sewer was increased $30,000 because costs such as watermain breaks and jetting lines were not being covered. Revenue decreased as well by over $33,000. The Council considered cuts from wage line items. Adjusting the street, storm sewer and snow and ice wages items would have cut $25,000 from the levy while just the storm sewer would cut $15,000. “The reason why we switched some more pressure on this than versus the revenue accounts is because we wanted to take pressure off of the revenue accounts so that when repairs came, for mainline breaks or any of those big type items,” said City Administrator Michael Looft. He added that any time a line breaks it costs about $10,000. The Council voted to cut the $15,000 from the storm sewer. The levy that was sent to the county is $839,656.