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Levy and Budget Up for City Council Approval Tonight

Eagan residents will likely see the same taxes if the proposed levy and budget are approved.

Eagan residents won't see much of a difference in their city property tax bill if the proposed levy is approved at tonight's city council meeting.

The council is considering a property tax levy that would decrease 2.9 percent to $27.4 million. They're also considering a budget that local leaders call status quo; it will increase by 1.3 percent.

The increase comes from personnel costs such as health insurance, as well as an increase in fuel costs, city administrators said. They plan to pay for those costs with non-tax revenues.

The average owner of a home valued at $241,744 pays $800 in city property taxes, according to documents.

Tom Hedges, city administrator, said he thinks the budget and levy are responsible.

"We've been pretty conservative in our budget forecasting," he said. "I do feel very good."

Hedges said in 2009, in the thick of the recession, they cut 11 positions. In its new budget, it plans for a position the city cut this year, as well as one that will be cut in 2012.

Administrators have been cautious, he said, but certain expenses are essential. "We don't have the ability to stop crime, fires and snow in a recession," Hedges said.

City administrators are expecting a decrease in home values in the next two years. At its peak in 2009, local leaders estimated that Eagan property market values totaled close to $8 billion. But by 2013, they estimate the values will total less than $7 billion.

Still, Hedges thinks the economy will improve. "We're going to bottom out at some point," he said.

To read more about what's in store for tonight's city council meeting at 6:30 p.m., see the attached PDF.

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