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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Department of Revenue commissioner commends Dakota County, City of Hastings for lowering levies

There's only one place in Minnesota where both a county and its county seat managed to lower their property tax levies for 2014, and that's what brought the state's Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans to Dakota County late Monday, Nov. 18. Recently, Frans has made visits to government officials around Minnesota who managed to avoid a statewide trend of increasing levies.


"We are really impressed with what Dakota County and the city of Hastings have done to manage to hold down property taxes," the commissioner said.


The County set its 2014 preliminary property tax levy at $128,506,313, representing a .5 percent reduction from the 2013 levy. This means a median-priced home will see a decrease of about $11 in County taxes.


"Property tax relief has been a baby of mine," Board Chair Kathleen A. Gaylord said. "We have tried through the years to be good stewards of tax dollars. It has been a priority. And we've done this by looking at debt, adding technology and managing health care costs."


Other steps taken to ensure residents saw property tax relief have included the County's reduction of operating spending by $39.85 million since 2009, the maintaining of reserves to weather economic cycles and the paying down of debt for long-term levy management.


Savings to taxpayers is nothing new to Dakota County this year. The Board previously voted to lower its levy back in 2013 and was able to keep it flat in 2012 by holding the line on spending, marking a significant string of years without a property tax increase. But even after reducing its levy, Dakota County is still maintaining all of its services and going as far as to expand some of them. They include the addition of a 456-acre park in Empire Township, remodeling projects at multiple library branches and continuous improvements to the delivery of human services.


For more information about Dakota County's levy, visit and search levy.


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