Taxes on the rise in Austin? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Taxes on the rise in Austin?

AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's something no one wants to hear during this tough economic time, but if you live in Austin, your taxes could be on the way up. Tuesday evening the city council had its annual Truth and Taxation hearing to talk about raising taxes, and they gave the approval to do so.

The tax levy is set at $3,975,000-million for next year, compared to last years 4.1.-million dollars. Although the proposed levy is lower, many residents will actually see an increase in their taxes and that had some people upset at tonight's meeting.

So why are taxes going up?

This year, the levy as I stated, was $4.1-million. Residents paid $3.5-million dollars of that and the state pitched in $600,000 because of the market value credit program.  This year, the program was cut from the state's budget. Now Austin residents will have to foot the $3,975,000 bill, to operate the city, as the market value credit no longer applies.

Some Austin residents spoke up at the meeting, saying taxes shouldn't increase.

"Asking not only the city, but the county to do a better job at on their budgeting and not so readily increase taxes," said a resident.

"I've talked to a lot of people who are very unhappy with the way government is funding itself. It's pretty easy for you to sit there and bump taxes up a little bit each year, because it's spread over 23-thousand people here in Austin," stated one man.

The public's opinion did not sway the council. The levy was passed by a 5 to 2 vote.

City officials said taxes need to be increased to make ends meet, otherwise cuts will be made to a number of city services, including snow plow removal, city hall, public safety and the list goes on.

The levy will become law next Monday evening at the council meeting.

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