NB sets preliminary budget, levy

By a 4-1 vote Sept. 12, the North Branch City Council set its preliminary budget and property tax levy for 2018. The proposed levy is 7.5 percent higher than the final levy approved for 2017.
Robert Canada was the lone member of the council to vote no on the budget and levy.
The council can lower the budget and levy — set at $4,705,830 — before those figures need to be certified to the state in December, but they cannot increase.
North Branch Finance Director Richard Hill said the levy is proposed at about $328,000 higher than last year.
Council member Kathy Blomquist said she didn’t agree with the amount proposed, but she compromised and voted for it.
“A lot of people think the levy should be a lot lower,” she said. “I feel a lot of people focus on percentage and not what we’re getting. I’m not happy with this levy. I think it should be a little higher. I felt pressured to lower it.”
She continued that there are items in the budget that the council is looking at reducing, and if people realized the cuts the city has to make, they might have a different opinion on increasing the levy.
The Truth-in-Taxation meeting, where the public can comment on the proposed budget and levy before they’re approved, is set for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30.

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