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Perham's total tax levy to decrease

The total tax levy in Perham will be going down by 3.84 percent next year, if a preliminary levy approved this week becomes final.

City councilors unanimously agreed at a meeting Monday to submit the 2013 preliminary levy to the county auditor. There was little discussion.

The public will get a chance to comment on the levy, and the city's budget, on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m., before either are given final approval.

Numbers shared at the meeting show Perham's operating expenses will be increasing by about 7 percent next year. Most of those dollars will go into the general fund and the general capital fund; additional dollars are also going toward economic development, the library and the fire department.

Meanwhile, the city's debt will have decreased by almost 20 percent. Bonds for the library, airport runway reconstruction and a 2006 improvement project are all at zero balances by 2013.

In a follow-up interview, City Manager Kelcey Klemm explained that the levy decrease is mainly due to the expiration of the library bond (levy referendum). If this referendum were still in the picture for 2013, the city levy would not have decreased, but rather would have gone up by about 1 percent.

The preliminary levy could go down further before being finalized in December.