Rochester Budget Proposal Has 6.5% Property Tax Levy Hike
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester City Council will be presented Monday with an overview of a two-year budget proposal put together by the city's administrative team.
The plan would restore many of the funding cuts that were made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that will require a property tax increase. City Administrator Alison Zelms is recommending a 6.5 percent increase next year. The city decided last year not to pursue an increase in the property tax levy this year as a way to help property owners hurt by the pandemic's economic impact.
The utility rate freeze enacted this year by Rochester Public Utilities would also come to an end under the budget plan. It calls for a 2.5 percent general rate increase for electric service and a 2.5 percent general rate increase for water service. RPU electric customers but also see individual customer class increases ranging from 1 to 4 percent.
The City administration is recommending no changes be made to parking ramp or transit fees next year. The city is currently updating a parking rate study and the Transit Development Plan that could include a fare-free alternative.
The proposal would increase the size of the city's entire budget by about $22 million, but the increase to the city's operating expenses would be about $3.5 million. The administration notes that still represents a decrease of $4.7 million when compared to the pre-pandemic operating budget. Total expenses, including capital improvement, would remain over $94 million below the level that was approved for 2020.