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Property tax assessments won't be changing for now

Red Wing City Council members decided Monday not to change their assessment policy — which directs how much citizens pay for work such as road reconstruction — at this time.

The council tabled assessments at its last meeting to discuss potential changes to the policy as a whole Monday, including lowering the interest rate and changing the payoff timeframe from 10 years to 20.

A resident had raised the concerns, among others about her property.

Staff recommended not making any changes, but said if the council lowered the interest rate it should also consider increasing the amount of project costs citizens pay, now generally 25 percent of the total cost.

“I feel 25 percent is fair,” Council member Mike Schultz said. “We’ve got a balanced policy right now. Moving it, I think, would be very tricky.”

Council members and staff said while their interest rate is higher — it fluctuates but has hovered around 6.5 percent recently — the city does not want to act as a bank and wants to encourage people to pay off their portions quickly.

The council did say communication with residents about assessments could be improved.

Council President Lisa Bayley said she would like to look at raising the 25 percent portion and possibly lowering the interest rate, but noted there was not consensus among council members at this time to do that.

The council then approved a series of assessments for projects. All were unanimous except the project tabled at the last meeting, which was approved 6-1. Bayley voted no.  

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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