Briefs: Cost-saving measures keep tax levy down in Dakota County

  • Updated: December 28, 2013 - 4:46 PM
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A Jan. 7 event at Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville will focus on children and families eating healthfully in the new year.

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In final action on the county tax levy this month, Dakota County decreased the 2014 levy by 0.6 percent from 2013.

The levy will bring in $128,377,938 in taxes.

Decisions by the County Board to reduce operating spending by nearly $40 million since 2009 and to become self-insured to manage health care costs have kept county property taxes among the lowest in Minnesota.

An increase in state aid and federal reimbursements, as well as a new sales tax exemption for most purchases made by local governments, also contributed to the levy reduction, which amounts to a drop of about $11 on a median-priced home in the county.

Burnsville

Mayor asks County Board to reconsider stance

Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz appeared before the Dakota County Board on Dec. 17 to make a personal plea that the county reconsider its intention to ask state legislators for approval power over city tax increment districts.

Kautz said Burnsville and the county had a history of good communication and cooperation on tax increment districts, and she objected to the legislative initiative because, she said, it would give the county veto power over city tax increment projects.

Although Kautz said the city and county would be lobbying against each other on the issue at the Capitol, the county board declined to drop it from its list of legislative priorities.

County Board Chairwoman Kathleen Gaylord said the county would continue to cooperate with cities on these matters but wants to protect against the loss of its own taxing authority on projects it may not support.

Tax increment districts are used as a tool to promote redevelopment. They capture the increased tax revenue from new development and use it to pay off bonds that helped finance the project. Burnsville anticipates creating another one on land overlooking the Minnesota River just west of Interstate Hwy. 35W, Kautz said.

While a tax increment district is in existence — usually quite a few years — the county, school district and city in which the project is located do not collect regular tax revenue on the project.

Event at food co-op will focus on healthy eating

Valley Natural Foods will host a free event from 5 to 7 p.m Jan. 7 that’s aimed at encouraging families to adopt healthy habits in the new year.

Activities will include snowshoeing led by a Dakota County Parks instructor, with snowshoes supplied by the parks department. There also will be free tastings and healthy meals for sale in the deli.

The goal of the event is to teach children that eating healthy, nutritious foods can be fun along with getting them to enjoy exercise. Valley Natural Foods donates funds to Westview Elementary, Northview Elementary, Dakota Ridge School and Sioux Trail Elementary for their participation in the program.

The Burnsville co-op is at 13750 County Road 11.

Dakota County

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