The Woodbury City Council approved a 6% property tax levy increase at its Dec. 11 meeting. The levy is part of the city's larger 2020 budget, which was also approved at the meeting.

The final budget stayed largely the same as a preliminary budget passed Sept. 25.

Here are five important takeaways from the city's 2020 budget:

1. The property tax levy increased by 6%, up from the 4.8% increase approved for 2019. It's also higher than the 15-year average annual increase of 4.5%.

The main reason for this increase is the new $500,000 Parks and Trails Replacement Fund. With aging parks and trail systems, the city wants to create a separate pot of money that would be devoted to their replacement and upkeep going forward. About half of this fund would come from expiring debt levies.

Without the proposed Parks and Trails Replacement Fund, the proposed levy increase would have been about 4.6%, according to the city.

The proposed 6% property tax levy increase for Woodbury in 2020 is higher than the 15-year average annual increase of 4.5%. Courtesy of the city of Woodbury
The proposed 6% property tax levy increase for Woodbury in 2020 is higher than the 15-year average annual increase of 4.5%. Courtesy of the city of Woodbury

2. Residents with a property at the city’s median home value of $312,600 can expect about a $30 tax increase.

This assumes a 4.7% increase in a property's estimated market value. Property taxes make up 70% of the city's general fund, planned to total $37.7 million in 2020.

3. The city plans to spend $100.2 million in 2020, about a $7.5 million increase from the 2019 budget.

This total includes the general fund and other city funds, as well as the new Parks and Trails Replacement Fund, plus other capital improvement projects like road reconstruction. The Municipal State Aid (MSA) Roadway Construction project will direct $19.2 million to the reconstruction of 4.4 miles in 2020.

Other budget drivers cited by the city include employee wages and benefits, providing services to a growing population, the HERO Center and the increasing cost of battling the emerald ash borer.

4. Water, sewer, stormwater and irrigation rates will increase.

  • The city water rate will increase to $1.40 per 1,000 gallons, up $0.05 from 2019.
  • The sanitary sewer rate will increase to $28.12 per quarter, up $1.08 from 2019.
  • The stormwater rate will increase to $19.88 per quarter, up $0.58 from 2019.
  • The irrigation rate will increase to $2.95 per 1,000 gallons, up $0.21 from 2019. This would be the fourth increase in a five-year plan.

5. Ambulance and street lighting rates will stay the same.

Street lighting rates have remained static at $6.60 per quarter for a single-family home since 2010, when they were increased from $6.10, finance director Tim Johnson said in an email. The rate is part of an agreement with Xcel Energy wherein the city pays lighting costs upfront, Johnson said.