The board approved a 3.49% increase in the levy for 2022. This equates to a levy of about $ 3.24 million, which is about $ 110,000 more than the 2021 levy of $ 3.13 million. .
City administrator Tim Peterson said Cloquet had a 4.49% taxable market value increase in 2021.
“This increase in value comes from existing and new construction,” said Peterson. “We try to always stay below this increased value, so we recommend the overall preliminary levy of 3.49%.”
The board also approved its 2022 budget proposal, which includes roughly $ 20 million in revenue and $ 21.3 million in expenses.
Some of the aspects that contributed to the projected deficit included supposed health insurance increases of around 5% for city staff, planning for potential retirements, and increased spending by police departments.
“Workers comp is the biggest part of the latter,” Peterson said. “It’s increased by $ 118,000 in this department. We’re also seeing more pay increases for workers in all areas.”
Sales tax plans in Budget 2022 included the second part of construction on 14th Street, a possible J-turn along Minnesota’s Highway 33, and utility works.
Overall, Peterson said most of the conversations he has had with department managers have been looking for potential cuts to keep the budget around the same amount as last year.
“It’s been a tough year,” said Peterson. “Every meeting started with us saying, ‘We probably shouldn’t be asking for more than we had last year. “We’re trying to limit these planned increases for years to come by making these smaller increases now, but it’s hard to forecast more than a year or two.”
Council approved the preliminary levy and the proposed budget unanimously, in the absence of two council members, Mayor Gary Maki and council member Kerry Kolodge. The board can always choose to adjust the levy downwards when it sets the final levy in December. State law allows the city to decrease the preliminary levy, but prohibits the city from increasing it once it is set.
The board also set its tax truth meeting for December 7.
At the same meeting, the council unanimously approved, with two absent members, the appointment of Katie Bloom as director of finance for the town of Cloquet.
Bloom is from Moose Lake where she has served as Assistant Clerk and Chief Financial Officer since 2017 and City Administrator since June 2020.
Former CFO Nancy Klassen retired in September.