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East Grand Forks City Council members approve 10% increase to property tax levy for 2023 budget

The increase to the property tax levy comes as the city expects to spend more on utilities, workers' comp, wages and fuel. The total expenditures next year are estimated to come in at $12,776,485.

East Grand Forks City Hall
East Grand Forks City Hall. File photo Brandi Jewett/ Grand Forks Herald
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EAST GRAND FORKS – A 10% increase to the city’s property tax levy was approved 4-2 during Tuesday’s City Council meeting as the deadline nears for final approval of the 2023 budget.

Council members Clarence Vetter and Dale Helms were the two council members voting against the increase. Council member Tim Johnson was absent.

Helms is worried about the burden a tax increase will have on property owners, making note of it during last week's meeting. Council members last week reviewed a proposed 12% increase to the property tax levy, though several said they would like to see it lowered to a 10% increase.

The increase to the property tax levy comes as the city expects to spend more on utilities, workers' comp, wages and fuel. The total expenditures next year is estimated to come in at $12,776,485.

Property tax alone will bring in $6.6 million in revenue for the city next year, which is $600,007 more than this year. Some additional revenue sources come from franchise and other taxes, charges for services and licenses and permits.

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In 2023, the city is looking to bring in an estimated $12,625,926 in revenue, with an additional $150,000 to come out of city reserves to cover all expenses. Comparatively, the city has spent $457,456 from its reserves to cover expenses this year.

With the 10% property tax levy increase, the city is looking at starting next year with $6.1 million in the general fund and ending the year with a little over $6 million, factoring in revenue and expenditures.

Mayor Steve Gander said he does support the 10% increase when considering inflation, though he said work will need to be done next year to lower property taxes for the 2024 budget.

“We’re going to work really hard to bring that down starting early next year, trying to find any efficiency that we can,” Gander said. “It’s going to be all hands on deck.”

Karla Anderson, the city’s finance director, said council members will review additional funds within the budget at a future council meeting. Council members will need to give final approval for the 2023 budget by the end of the month.

In other news Tuesday, council members:

  • Determined that more discussion is needed on the potential regulations on allowing residents to use outdoor wood-burning furnaces in their yards.
  • Approved a contract between the city and Village Business Institute to provide an employee assistance program for three years at a cost of $2,970 per year. The program will be available for full-time city employees who will have access to counseling services covering relationship issues, emotional health, drug/alcohol issues, workplace issues, health risk assessments, wellness programs and more.
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 701-780-1267 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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