The Crookston Ways and Means Committee held a special meeting on Monday night in the City Hall council chambers to discuss the preliminary levy that would affect payable taxes for 2024.

This meeting aimed to discuss the various percentage increase options that were available. After the conclusion of the meeting, the committee could make a recommendation to the city council for their next meeting on September 25.

The preliminary levy must be established by October 2, and the established percentage increase cannot be exceeded at any point before the final levy is set on December 11.

City Administrator Corky Reynolds presented to the committee the percentage increase options for the city, which were 12.90% and 25%. The committee then discussed the possibility of fulfilling every need that has been presented in the preliminary budget discussions.

“Tonight, what the committee talked about is what would be the top percentage levy increase that would be considered?” said Reynolds, “They discussed 12.90% 25%, and then asked what the percentage levy increase would be if we wanted to fulfill all of the requests from all of the department heads that we have received after the last two months.”

The percentage of the levy increase determined when fulfilling every department request was estimated at a staggering 65.09%. However, this does not mean a 65.09% in the city’s taxation of its residents will be on the tax statement they will receive.

This increase would be evident in the taxation on market value to households. The committee was given rough estimates on increases in the market value of homes. The estimations of the following households would be-

(These estimations are set to vary.)

For a $100,000 market value home, the yearly tax increase is estimated at $150, or $12.50 per month.

For a $150,000 market value home, the yearly tax increase is estimated at $261, or $21.75 per month.

For a $200,000 market value home, the yearly tax increase is estimated at $375, or $31.25 per month.

This is the maximum percent increase the city is allowed to move forward in 2024. It is expected to lower the percentage after evaluation of the needs of the department heads. The committee explained this could be a “strategic move” in hopes of every department receiving what they need as opposed to what they want, and this could make operations move smoother in every department’s daily tasks.

By consensus, the committee will recommend this proposal of a 65.09% levy increase to the city council on Monday, September 25.

“What the Ways and Means Committee said tonight is, we want to give the City of Crookston, administration, departments heads, the ultimate flexibility to look hard at what we need,” said Reynolds, “We don’t want to rush into a number tonight that would bind the city. But We cannot go higher than this but always go lower.” Reynolds also stated that this increase ‘buys time’ for department heads, administrators, and committee members to decipher needed items.

Reynolds announced during the meeting that he would meet with all department heads on Tuesday, September 19, to discuss the requested items. “Now we go back to them and say, the committee has allowed us to look at each thing, without being pressed to select 25% or what have you,” said Reynolds, “Let’s go back and do our job, let’s go back and look at each item. Is this truly a need now!”

This subject is expected to be revisited throughout the next two months, possibly weekly, by the Ways and Means Committee. This is expected to be finalized by the Truth and Taxation hearing on December 11.  

 To go back and watch the meeting, click here.