Preliminary property tax levies in county show significant increases

If local units stick with their preliminary levy proposals, property taxes will likely go up for most residents of Fillmore County.

County residents recently received property tax notices in the mail with proposed levies from local units of government. After input from citizens during Truth-in-Taxation hearings, local governments must set their final 2019 property tax levies by Dec. 28. The final levies can be set lower, but not higher, than preliminary levies.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue’s annual list of the preliminary maximum property tax levies that have been reported by local governments and have been passed by local school referenda on Nov. 6 show hefty increases for several local cities and school districts (see accompanying chart).

Six cities in Fillmore County are proposing increases of 10 percent or higher. Two school districts, which have building and/or health and safety levies, show more than 80 percent increases.

The preliminary amounts are used by counties to compute parcel-specific property tax estimates for 2019, which are mailed to property owners in November in the form of Truth-in-Taxation notices. Specific parcels are also affected by valuation of the property, which is also listed on the notice.

The property tax notices also list Truth-in-Taxation meeting times and locations for residents. These meetings, which take place between late November and late December, are an opportunity for Minnesotans to provide input to local leaders on their levies and on how they are proposing to spend tax dollars. These meetings are required for cities with populations over 500, counties, school districts, regional library authorities and metropolitan taxing districts.

For 2019, preliminary property taxes statewide will increase $560 million, a 5.7 percent increase. Last year, preliminary statewide property taxes increases totaled $492.2 million, a 5.2 percent increase, and last year’s final levy increase was 4.6 percent ($430.6 million).

The 2019 preliminary property tax levies for all cities in the state show a 6.2 percent increase with counties increasing 5 percent and schools 8.1 percent. Townships, which set their 2019 preliminary property tax levies earlier in the year, show a 2.1 percent increase.

Truth-in-Taxation notices do not include the results of levy referenda for operations or capital projects by 54 of Minnesota’s school districts, but the results of these referenda are included in the summarized data included in the accompanying chart.