Mendota Heights approves 7.5 percent property tax increase

At its Dec. 5 meeting, the Mendota Heights City Council unanimously approved the final 2018 budget and property tax levy.

Kristen Schabacker, finance director, said the proposed 2018 levy is around $8.5 million, an increase of 7.52 percent from 2017. 

The budget for all funds is $13.7 million.

The average residential home value in Mendota Heights increased approximately 5.5 percent from last year, Schabacker said. In 2017, a home that was valued at $338,105 paid $1,311 in city taxes. 

That same home will have a value of $356,700 in 2018 and pay roughly $1,392 in city taxes. 

“There are some properties whose values may have increased greater than the 5.5 percent,” Schabacker said.

Schabacker said some of the things that will be new in 2018 include two new police officers, with one beginning January and the other beginning in July, at a cost of of $149,000. 

Bruce Bobbitt was one of two residents who contacted Schabacker about the proposed property tax increase earlier this year. He is the only resident who spoke during the public hearing section of the Dec. 5 presentation and said he was the only one who commented last year.

Bobbitt said he was assured last year was an outlier with the levy increasing around 8 percent, with the coming years getting back down to 2 or 3 percent increases.

“Now I got my tax bill and I’ve got a 10 percent increase on top of last year’s 8 percent,” Bobbitt said, adding he was surprised.

He said he supports hiring more police officers, but if the budget in one area is increasing he wondered if it would be possible to look for savings in another department. 

Council member Ultan Duggan said for the last three or four years there have been more than a few challenges in departments, including the police department. The reason for not bringing on more staff earlier was in order to avoid increases in the budget and the levy.

He said he is happy to note the city’s new police chief is bringing on new staff, which will bring relief to the department and residents of the city.

Duggan added he hopes next year the levy will drop back down. 

Council member Liz Petschel said the biggest period of development in the city was back in the 1980s and 1990s. She said the city coasted on low increases around 2 to 5 percent, while city infrastructure was aging.

“Now it’s not new anymore and it’s got to be replaced. Unfortunately, equipment wears out ... Our budget is so small, comparatively speaking, that when you buy something that costs a quarter of a million dollars, the levy goes up exponentially,” she said, adding she hopes spending is more even in coming years.

Bobbitt said he thinks it is important when there are tax increases that citizens be able to ask questions and seek justification of the increases.

Members of the council thanked him for coming to the meeting.

Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or

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