The Two Harbors City Council has approved a preliminary levy increase of 9% for 2020.

The $2.2 million preliminary maximum levy — a $184,220 increase — could be decreased before certification in December, but it can't increase.

During the council meeting Monday, Sept. 23, finance director Miranda Pietilla said the median family home in Two Harbors is valued at $127,500. With the 9% increase, the household will see an increase of approximately $40 on their yearly property taxes.

"If you break that down, it comes out to an increase of about $3.75 per month," Pietilla said.

A house valued at $149,000 can expect an approximately $49 increase and a house valued at $229,800 can expect about an $82 increase.

This doesn't include other possible increases from other levies.

The increase is attributed to the city's goal to attain a 50% general fund reserve balance; the city currently sits at about 45%. Pietilla also listed the city's commitment to the capital equipment fund.

"We established that fund in 2017 and had a goal of having $500,000 in reserves," Pietilla said. "That’s important because before we would have an emergency and not have any funds available to purchase a piece of equipment."

Councilor Cathy Erickson noted that the levy increase is less than in 2019, when it rose 12%.

"I think what we’re doing is right in line with what we've done in prior years," Erickson said. "If there’s something that comes up to decrease it, we’ll keep it in mind, but I think we’re right in line with where we should be."

Residents will have an opportunity to discuss the 2020 budget and levy at a Truth in Taxation hearing Dec. 2 at 6 p.m.