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Two Harbors sets levy at 9 percent increase

The Two Harbors City Council approved its 2018 budget and set its levy at 9 percent during its meeting Tuesday, Dec. 19.

The 2018 tax levy was set at $1.84 million, an increase of $151,975 in tax revenue. The general fund revenues for 2018 is projected to be more than $4.3 million and general fund revenues for 2019 are expected to be more than $4.46 million. According to Finance Director Miranda Pietila, even though the budget shows a deficit, the city will still have a balanced budget because the expenditures do not exceed the total estimate revenues and available fund balance from prior years.

"The net change in fund balance for 2018 is a deficit of $159,775, but we are still maintaining our goal of a minimum fund balance of 40 percent," Pietila said. "So even though it looks like we are having a deficit, we are maintaining what the city requires of us and also what the state is requiring."

Council President Cathy Erickson reminded residents that the preliminary levy was set at an 11 percent increase, and the council approved a 9 percent increase Tuesday.

"So what people are seeing on their proposed property tax statement is actually 11 percent," Erickson said. "After the proposed levy came out, we reviewed the budget and saw areas in which we could make (9 percent) more tangible. So people looking at their proposed property tax statement should see the city share decrease slightly."

Proposed purchases for 2018

Some proposed purchases in the 2018 budget include $45,000 for the Odegard Park building updates, $149,968 for a tandem dump truck for the public works department, $2 million from the sewer fund for repairs and updates to the main lift station and $412,000 from the electronic fund for a new warehouse building, which was carried over from last year's budget.

The budget also includes $250,000 for a new bathhouse in the far north corner of the campground, which will come out of the campground fund. Pietila said the current bathhouse needs to be replaced because it sustained fire damage in October.

The golf course fund is expected to receive $175,488 in transfers — about $64,319 less than 2017. There were equipment purchases from the golf course fund in 2016 and 2017; none are scheduled for 2018.

Also in 2018, the council will decide whether to renegotiate the Two Harbors Golf Association's contract.

Adelle Whitefoot

Adelle Whitefoot is a Michigan native who moved to Minnesota in Sept. 2014 when she started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. She graduated from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., in 2012 with a bachelor's in English writing and has been a professional photographer since 2011. Whitefoot is the night general assignments reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. 

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