Shakopee City Council Approves 4.2 Percent Levy Increase

The property tax levy increase in Shakopee's 2013 budget comes after the city had maintained a flat levy since 2009.

The Shakopee City Council approved a 4.2 percent property tax levy increase in Shakopee's 2013 budget at its meeting on Tuesday. This is down from the preliminary levy increase of 4.5 percent and comes after the city had maintained a flat levy since 2009.

Finance Director Julie Linnihan presented the 2013 city budget to the council and made special note of the changes made in the budget.

The main cost increases to the city come from the addition of full time positions, $500,000 for capital improvements and an increase of $30,000 to the referendum levy for the fire station on Vierling Drive West. She noted that property taxes are the primary revenue source for the city.  

The new full time positions are:

  • Economic Development Specialist,
  • Human Resources Technician,
  • Four Full Time Firefighters,
  • Natural Resources Technician, and
  • Crime Prevention Specialist.

Part of the reason for the new positions is to re-staff positions that were left unfilled after employee departures in previous years, Councilor Steven Clay explained.

Daytime availability of firefighters has been a problem because many of the part-time firefighters are not available during the business day, said City Administrator Mark McNeill. To address the issue, the city plans to add four full time firefighter positions.

Funds for capital improvements in the amount of $500,000 are another increased cost for the city in 2013. Councilor Clay noted that some of the funding will go towards improving Shakopee roads.

The budget proposal included $13,000 for flower baskets in downtown Shakopee. Businesses agreed to pay for half the cost, and the city would be responsible for keeping the flowers watered. The motion was made and passed to accept the agreement.

Earlier budget discussions had included one part time firefighter in the budget. Although the position was removed from the budget proposal, the $40,000 to fund the position remained in the levy. Linnihan recommended that the council apply the $40,000 to debt service.

First, Councilor Pamela Schurman made a motion to remove the $40,000 and most of the full time positions from the budget. The motion failed 2-3 with Councilors Schurman and Lehman in favor of it.

Councilor Clay made the motion to remove just the $40,000, which passed 3-2. Mayor Brad Tabke and Councilor Jay Whiting made the dissenting votes.

The budget was approved on a 3-2 vote. Mayor Tabke and Councilors Clay and Whiting voted in favor of the budget and Councilors Schurman and Lehman were opposed.

Said Concilor Lehman, “There’s only so much the average household can take before they just can't take it any longer and feasibly pay it… Where does that put the city at that point? I’m actually really disappointed in this budget. It’s probably one of the most disappointing budgets that I’ve seen in the 12 years that I’ve served.”

Mayor Tabke disagreed.

“I’m extremely proud of this budget that we put together," he said. "I think it puts necessary investments we need for the future of Shakopee in the forefront and gets a lot of really good things done for our city."

matt lehman December 07, 2012 at 05:34 AM
I also stated that I respect the Council as a body and recognize the authority to set the levy, does not mean I must agree with it. I disagree with adding all the positions in the current economic climate, (state, Federal, and global). I also did not think tax dollars should pay for watering flowers at select businesses, archiology study in memorial park. I do agree with road money however, going from 0 to $500,000 immediately is over kill, I would prefer $350,000 and scale back on miles per year overlay until some or any economic certainty was found. Its very likely taxpayers will see a state sales tax on services, federal tax increases and or loss of deductions, affordable (obama care) health care, all while we see our cost of goods go up, property values going down, wages flat, jobs scarce or hours reduced. I simply disagree with the amount of additional spending in this budget considering the economic conditions. The feedback I have from the people says many are being squeezed financially, I voted against "the largest tax increase in modern memory" (shakopee valley news) because in my opinion, it does not benefit the majority of the feedback I have received. 4.2% increase in a down economy means huge increases in good times and no level of government needs to grow that fast without new economic growth to pay for it.


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