TRF city council approves 2022 budget and tax levy


by Avril Scheinoha
Journalist

Compromises were made during the 2022 budget process for the Town of Thief River Falls.

“I’m happy with what we’ve come up with this year,” said Mayor Brian Holmer, who noted that no one got everything they wanted from the 2022 budget.
At its Tuesday, December 21 meeting, Thief River Falls City Council passed the 2022 budget and property tax levy.

The budget provides for $ 36,704,443 in income from all funds and $ 36,421,474 in expenses from all funds. It also provides for a transfer of $ 282,969 to reserves.

Even though the council approved the 2022 budget, Rachel Prudhomme, a council member, continued to express her displeasure at the idea of ​​paying $ 25,000 to Advance Thief River to stimulate economic development in the region. Michelle Landsverk, Executive Director, has started providing monthly reports to the board. “This is nothing new,” Prudhomme said of Landsverk’s December report. She added that much of the work cited by Landsverk referred to programming by Christine Anderson at the Small Business Development Center in Crookston. Anderson’s job is free to the city.

Further, Prudhomme said she was angry that city taxpayers are paying Advance Thief River such a large amount. In particular, she noted that city taxpayers pay twice as the city and county contribute money to Advance Thief River.

Pennington County contributes $ 25,000 to Advance Thief River. Advance Thief River is contributing an additional $ 25,000.

Prudhomme suggested that the council instead help fund the Thief River Falls Chamber of Commerce, Visit Thief River Falls, and SBDC, which promote Thief River Falls for free.

Board Member Steve Narverud, who is an ex-officio member of the Advance Thief River Board of Directors, said most of Anderson’s work at Thief River Falls is the result of Advance Thief River asking his help. He said the SBDC only employs three people for the entire northwestern Minnesota region.

Prudhomme asked why the city is paying Advance Thief River if SBDC is doing the job.

Narverud responded that part of what Advance Thief River does is figuring out what needs to be done that can help achieve that goal. He invited his fellow council members to come to a meeting.

Holmer also expressed concern over the payment of $ 25,000 to Advance Thief River. Holmer, owner of Michael’s Meats in downtown Thief River Falls, said the Chamber provides a lot of help to downtown businesses. He asked if the board should start providing funds to the House to keep an executive director on staff. Holmer added that the board needs to review what it pays and receives for such a payment. Like Prudhomme, he also explained that the townspeople pay more than their fair share for Advance Thief River, as they reside in both the town and the county.

In a separate motion, council set the property tax at $ 2,959,824, a 5.86% increase from 2021. This amount includes a drawdown on the General Fund of $ 2,134,624 and a drawdown on the bond debt of $ 825,200.

Municipal taxes will increase by $ 1.83 on a $ 100,000 home. For a commercial property of $ 200,000, municipal taxes would increase by $ 8.28. These increases do not take into account a change in the estimated market value of a particular property.

In September, council approved a higher preliminary property tax levy that would have represented a 7.59% increase. Two months later, board members recommended reducing the increase to 5.86%.

Council member Curt Howe believes the city has done a good job with its budget process. He noted that the Detroit Lakes property tax had increased by more than 10%.

The city council approved the 2021 contract for management, administrative, professional and supervisory employees. As part of the resolution, council also approved revisions to the agreements with city administrator Angie Philipp and human resources specialist LeAnn Engelstad.

These city employees will receive a 1.75% increase retroactive to January 1, 2021. The current MAPS contract expired on December 31, 2020, and the ad hoc labor committee has negotiated with representatives from MAPS over the past year. . Salary increases for the city administrator and human resources specialist have generally followed the MAPS contract for many years.

The board approved tax breaks for 21 properties, totaling $ 15,091.71.

People receiving property tax allowances included Lester John Larson, Adrian Prestebak, Bryce Gillie, Lori Alvarado, Shelby Erickson, Donita Stepan, Kellie Dagg, Tanner Nessen, Brandi Dorge, Mackenzie Swick, Jeremiah Nichols, Diana Donarski, Tanner Dicken , Wendall Wegge, Marcia Sandahl, Jamie Englund, Suresh Sreedharan, Steven Keogh, Christina Pribyl, Duane and Wendy Horras and Margaret Kaste. Six of the respective properties are in their first year of the program, and nine of the respective properties are in the second year while three properties are each in the third and fourth years of the program.

Under this program, tourist tax reductions are available for new single-family homes. Excluding the value of the land, the construction of houses cannot exceed $ 160,000 for houses built before June 2015 and $ 200,000 for houses built after that date. Taxes are reduced for three years unless there are assessments, so it’s seven years.

Pennington County is reducing county taxes under this program. The school district only reduces school district taxes for new single-family homes in the Greenwood Neighborhood Addition of the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation.


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