ANOKA, Minn. – (Dec. 4, 2015) – The Anoka County Board of Commissioners adopted the certified property tax levy for the 2016 budget year. For the past five years, the Anoka County Board of Commissioners has tried to keep property taxes consistently among the lowest in the state, and decreased property taxes for three years in a row while the recession was at its worst starting in 2012. It was the first time the county’s levy had been lowered in the past 40 years.
- 2012 Board reduced levy by nearly $8 million
- 2013 Additional $1 million reduction
- 2014 Additional $2 million reduction
- 2015 Fractional increase (.89%)
The resulting cumulative savings to citizens totals more than $37 million from these levy reductions. The levy for 2016 will increase by 2.49 percent, from $119,408,022 to $122,385,080. The slight increase will help the county begin to cover the cost of new legislation and the transfer of costs from the State to the County for mandated services related to children, vulnerable adults, and people with mental illness.
“We have brought levy levels down or held spending steady for the past five years. That’s being true to our mission to respect our citizens and be fiscally responsible with their tax dollars,” said Rhonda Sivarajah, chair of the Anoka County Board of Commissioners. “By comparison, previous boards doubled the county’s levy between 2000 and 2010, from $63 million in 2000 to more than $122 million in 2010. Meanwhile they were bonding (borrowing money) twice a year, ballooning the county’s debt. Now the ship is no longer out of control and the county’s thirst for debt has been quenched. At the same time, caring for our citizens, especially our most vulnerable, is our top priority. We are here to safeguard our senior citizens and children and continue to provide and strengthen services for them.”
The growing cost to counties is especially significant for individuals housed at the Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center (AMRTC). Patients here often have complex case histories and multiple needs. The county’s share of the cost of a patient’s stay at the AMRTC was 10 percent in 2008. Today, Anoka County can bear the entire $1,309 per day cost immediately after admission. In addition, the current push by state officials to release sex offenders from treatment programs will shift more costs to counties.
Finally, there is the ongoing struggle with MNsure. Despite promises by the State to create automated processes, MNsure continues to require an inordinate amount of staff time in the form of manual updates rather than automatic updates. Simple events that should take just a few minutes now take nearly an hour requiring additional staff time and attention.
To learn more about how a property tax levy affects your property taxes, view the county’s Property Tax 101 video.