West metro taxpayers are expected to see a 5 percent increase in taxes levied next year by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District — the largest increase for the entity since at least 2006.
The watershed district, which covers 181 square miles from Minnehaha Falls to Lake Minnetonka and the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, announced the 5 percent levy increase Monday after its board of managers gave preliminary approval on the $8.7 million levy Sept. 10. Its levy didn’t increase in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Then, 2014’s levy was increased by 2 percent and in 2015, the watershed district had a 4.9 percent increase.
The 5 percent increase in 2016 was needed, the watershed leaders say, to continue to make progress on work such as restoring Minnehaha Creek through St. Louis Park and Hopkins or managing and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. The budget is preliminarily set at $12.8 million — a 9.9 percent decrease in the previous year’s.
If the levy gets final approval, the owner of a $300,000 home would pay an estimated $1.60 more a year in taxes to the watershed district, which is one of the largest financially in Minnesota. It affects some or all property owners in Chanhassen, Deephaven, Edina, Excelsior, Golden Valley, Greenwood, Hopkins, Independence, Laketown Township, Long Lake, Maple Plain, Medina, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Minnetrista, Mound, Orono, Plymouth, Richfield, Shorewood, Spring Park, St. Bonifacius, St. Louis Park, Tonka Bay, Victoria, Watertown Township, Wayzata and Woodland.
The public has until Dec. 10 to comment on the budget and levy before a final vote Dec. 17. For more details, go to minnehahacreek.org.