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City of Perham sets preliminary tax levy at 24.75% increase

A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 12 prior to the adoption of the final levy.

City Hall Horiz.jpg
A public hearing prior to the adoption of the final 2023 budget and tax levy is scheduled for Dec. 12.
Perham Focus file photo
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PERHAM — Though the preliminary tax levy increase is still higher than the city of Perham would like, it has been lowered from the first prediction of a 30% percent increase to a 24.75% increase.

At a special city council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 28, the council approved and adopted the preliminary levy. Workers with the city will try to lower it as much as possible prior to the final budget adoption.

According to City Manager Jonathan Smith, with a 24.75% tax capacity level increase, the average Perham-area homeowner with a $200,000 home, whose home value remains the same from 2022 to 2023, would see a tax increase of about $38.

There are several reasons and changes to the city budget that accounts for the predicted increase.

The city says the increase is necessary to offset higher costs in several areas: The Perham Health property tax reimbursement — now to be split between two years — of $66,915 will be made to the county. Gas and utility prices will likely increase about 9%, which is approximately $100,000. Health insurance is predicted to increase about 15%, which is approximately $32,000. The cost of living increases for city employees except the Perham Police Department will likely increase about 6%, which is approximately $80,000. The city will also make a police department pay scale adjustment for recruiting and retaining officers, a $142,000 total increase.

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The preliminary levy sets a maximum for the final levy, meaning that it can't increase above the preliminary 24.75%. The levy percentage change is also not directly proportionate to property tax changes.

The city will hold a public hearing prior to the adoption of the final 2023 Budget and Tax Levy on Monday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.

At the meeting, councilors also discussed:

  • Traffic control for the 2022-23 Street Improvement Project was shifted on Wednesday, Sept. 28. First Avenue North (County Highway 8) is now open from Main Street (County Highway 80) to Third Street North. The detour is now up Second Avenue Northeast from Third Street to Mosquito Heights Road. County 8 is open from Mosquito Heights Road to Golf Course Road. This is due to construction delays in regard to work around railroads.
  • The Perham Area Public Library will be introducing a new reading program for middle school students that will allow them to collect cards by reading a certain number of minutes per week.
  • The fieldhouse and new Play Land at the Perham Area Community Center will likely be complete by the end of October.
  • The next regular city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 10 at 5:15 p.m., and the next committee of the whole meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 5:15 p.m.
Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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