Property tax bills expected to drop for most in St. Paul

  • Article by: ANTHONY LONETREE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 30, 2013 - 9:14 PM

The tax bite has been eased by tax-burden shifts and revenue hikes from metrowide funding source, say city, county and school officials.

Property tax bills for the average St. Paul home are expected to drop by at least 6.2 percent in 2014, according to Ramsey County calculations.

The savings are due in large part to other city properties taking on a greater share of the tax burden and to the city, county and school district gaining additional revenues from the metrowide fiscal disparities pool.

If not for the fiscal disparities program, County Board Member Janice Rettman said, the three bodies might be facing more serious challenges on the tax front.

She heard the projections Monday as a member of a joint panel of city, county and school leaders. For some properties, large apartment complexes, in particular, the tax forecast for 2014 is not as favorable. But the estimated impact on a median-valued home was greeted by committee members with enthusiasm.

“This is awesome,” said Anne Carroll, a school board member.

St. Paul leaders are in a rare position of learning this early in the tax season about combined tax-levy impacts — Truth in Taxation notices aren’t distributed to property owners until November — because of the unique nature of the joint committee, created by state law in the early 1990s.

Monday’s presentation by Chris Samuel, county manager of Property Records and Revenue, took into account property value changes, outside forces such as the infusion of fiscal disparities money and the maximum levies being proposed by the three jurisdictions.

The school district has proposed a 1 percent increase in its levy while the city and the county have agreed to keep their levies at least flat.

According to projections, the total tax bill for a median-valued $130,500 home would drop from $2,023 this year to $1,897 in 2014, a 6.2 percent decrease. The three entities could add to that savings by trimming their respective levy proposals when they take final action in December.

Samuel broke down how the tax burden shifts and the additional fiscal disparities proceeds figure into the proposed 2014 tax bill for a median-valued home. The reduction would be $126 total, and of that, $74 would be a result of tax shifts and $46 is due to fiscal disparities.

The fiscal disparities program is a regional pool of commercial and industrial tax money designed to reduce the imbalance between wealthy and poorer communities.

Of the other St. Paul property types, the median-valued commercial parcel, valued at $368,400, would see a 0.5 percent tax increase, from $14,756 to $14,829, while the average-valued large apartment property, valued at $1.3 million, would see a 13.2 percent hike, from $24,919 to $28,211.

The major factor behind the jump in apartment property taxes is the rise in their market value — a 15 percent increase in the case of the $1.3 million complex cited by Samuel on Monday.

Anthony Lonetree • 651-925-5036

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