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Perham property tax levy to decrease

Perham's property tax levy will be going down in 2014.

The city council on Monday approved a preliminary levy of -1.06 percent, following several weeks of budget meetings with the city’s department heads.

It's the first time in at least a decade that Perham’s levy has dropped instead of risen.

The preliminary levy will be finalized in December, following a public hearing on the matter on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.

In the meantime, the levy could be lowered further if other funding sources are found, but by law it cannot be raised higher than the amount stated in the preliminary levy proposal.

The reduction is largely due to an increase in state aid. Perham will be receiving an additional $124,000 in local government aid next year.

The preliminary levy proposal shows that this increased aid could have resulted in a levy reduction greater than 1.06 percent, as it gave a nearly 8 percent boost to the city’s operating fund.

The city is also expected to save more than $30,000 in sales tax, which, starting next year, it will no longer be required to pay.

New debt payments, however, the largest being for the city's 3rd Ave. S.W. and downtown area parking lot improvement projects, ate into that difference.

In the end, the levy dropped from this year's $1,166,738 to $1,154,323 in 2014, a difference of $12,415.

Also at Monday's meeting, councilors:

-Sold $1,115,000 in general obligation improvement bonds to assist with financing construction of the 3rd Ave. S.W. and downtown parking lot area improvements. Baird, of Milwaukee, Wisc., was the low bidder for the bonds (out of four total bids), at 3.3559 percent interest. Moody's Investors Service assigned an outstanding A1 rating to the city for the bonds.

-Extended the smoke-free policy at the Perham Area Community Center to include the parking lot.

-Approved a tax increment financing agreement with Perham Townhome, LLC., which plans to build affordable townhome rental units near the new hospital, in the newly platted Clearwater Second Addition.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Detroit Lakes Tribune in November 2017 after several years of writing and editing at the Perham Focus. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their young son and daughter, and their yellow Lab.

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