Blue Earth levy hike set at 14%

BLUE EARTH — On Monday, the Blue Earth City Council approved a 14 percent preliminary property tax levy increase for 2018.

Tim Ibisch, city administrator, presented the budget and preliminary tax levy numbers. Departments that may see an increase in funding for 2018 include engineering, the police and fire department, sanitation and health, the Economic Development Authority and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

The preliminary tax levy is set at $1.64 million, a 14 percent increase from 2017.

Mayor Richard Scholtes said the goal is to bring the levy down to 3.5 percent by December, and that there is room to work on bringing the number down.

“I think we have to be fair to our taxpayers,” Scholtes said. “I feel we need to keep it as low as we can.”

One item that Ibisch said can be worked with is the sewer levy, which is currently set at $100,000 to fund sewer plant construction in 2018. Ibisch said this can be reduced by finding alternative funding.

If the sewer levy is brought down to zero, said Ibisch, the increase percentage would be brought down to 7 percent.

In other action, the council:

o Approved a recycling proposal from B & B Sanitation and Recycling.

o Changed the next council meeting date from Oct. 2-3.