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St. Paul Park planning to lower levy

The St. Paul Park City Council informally signed off on the 2014 preliminary budget last week, a plan that proposes a 1.16 percent increase in spending but a property tax levy decrease.

Earlier this month, the council got its first look at the budget, which shows a general property tax revenue of $1.515 million and a $279,595 total debt levy, a number financial officer Kim Sommerland said remained unchanged during the second inspection.

Included in the budget is an increase in city revenue as well as a $309,000 increase in Local Government Aid, a funding source that allows the city to drop its property tax levy by 1.5 percent.

"It's nice to be able to say taxes are going down," Mayor Keith Franke said.

The budget also includes expenses for a part-time community service officer, an increase in fire training and $160,000 in transfers to the capital improvement fund for future street projects.

"What excites me is we're (raising expenditures) not based on operating expenses but on capital," council member Jeff Swenson said. "We're building on our future."

Also included in the budget is a slight decrease in general government expenses and public works salary.

The council is expected to approve the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2014 during its regular meeting, which because of Labor Day, will be 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3.