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City Proposes 21% Tax Increase

By Staff | Sep 18, 2015

The city of Rugby in their recent budget meeting has proposed a 21 percent increase to the City’s portion of real estate taxes.

According to City Auditor Elizabeth Heisey, the past two years the city utilized reserves in the general fund to pay budgeted bills totaling over $473,765. The reason for this shortage was a tax break of 23 percent that was budgeted for in 2014. With little or no job growth or new business creation, the tax base has been stagnant. Unfortunately, even though there was less revenue generated for the city, the expenses to run the city have increased. The ability for the city to continue to utilize reserves in its general account is no longer an option, according to Heisey; “the city just can’t afford it.” With that being the case, the city has three options: One, build its tax base. But with an inactive Job Development Authority at this time, that doesn’t seem like a viable option. That leaves only two options: Either increase taxes or decrease expenses, and decreasing expenses would result in eliminating recreation programs and/or security services. Whether to increase taxes or eliminate services is up to every taxpayer to decide for himself or herself.

The revenue needed to run the city operations is not solely generated by tax levies. The city also receives funds from state aid, restaurant, hotel and motel taxes, highway state aid, collection of water and sewer fees, landfill fees and other miscellaneous fees and taxes. These revenues are used to maintain the city’s infrastructure, protect its citizens and staff the departments so the city can run efficiently.

What does this proposed real estate tax increase equate to for a property assessed for $100,000? The city’s portion would increase by $76.77, but taking into consideration the county has proposed a decrease to their mill rate the proposed tax bill for a $100,000 assessed property would only go up $41.96.

A public hearing to consider increasing the 2016 City of Rugby property tax levy by 21 percent will be held at the Otter Tail Building Meeting Room, 226 South Main Avenue, Rugby North Dakota on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 8:00 p.m. If you would like to see the proposed budget before the meeting it can be viewed on the City’s website: cityofrugbynd.com. If you would like to speak to your councilman they can be reached at the following: Mayor Arland Geiszler, 701-776-5335; Ward 1 Councilman Bruce (Allen) Rheault, 701-776-2566; Ward 1 Councilman Neil Lotvedt, 701-776-5870; Ward 2 Councilman Gary Kraft 776-6915; Ward 2 Councilman David Bednarz, 701-776-2331; Ward 3 Councilman James Hoffert, 701-776-6658; Ward 3 Councilman Joel Berg, 208-1701; Ward 4 Councilman Terry Wentz, 701-776-5033; Ward 4 Councilman Chuck Longie 681-0199. The meeting will also be taped by The Pierce County Tribune and can be viewed by accessing our Facebook site via the website at ThePierceCountyTribune.com. It is time to get involved; the Mayor of Rugby and its councilmen welcome your input and it is up to each taxpayer to let his or her voice be heard.

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