Grand Forks council OKs city budget

After months of discussion and vetting, the Grand Forks city budget received final approval Monday from City Council without an audible complaint.

The meeting was a different scene from last year, when more than a dozen residents turned out to chastise the city for raising taxes.

This year, a single letter protesting an increase in taxes was sent to the city, according Mayor Mike Brown.

The budget vote also passed without comment from council members, though the group spent more than an hour debating numbers at its last meeting.

In the end, city property tax rates won’t be going up for residents, but rising property valuations could have them shelling out more. The average property value increase was expected to be about 3 percent.

Tax relief passed on by the state Legislature through a tax credit and school district mill buydown could negate those increases, leaving residents paying less in taxes than last year.

For the owner of a $100,000 home with a $494 city property tax bill, 12 percent would be covered by the tax credit — a difference of $59.

While residents could be seeing savings on taxes, their utility bills won’t be spared. Overall, utility rates will increase about 7 percent.

For residents using 4,000 gallons of water per month — the average water use in the city — their bill will jump from $63.44 to $68.03 per month.

The increase in rates comes from the city preparing to raise money for large upcoming public works projects, including a new water treatment plant.

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