The Ramsey County Board will hold a public hearing on the biennial budget for 2022-2023 at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 14. The board is scheduled to set its maximum property tax levy for 2022 on September 21. After that date, the levy can be decreased but not increased.
 
Ramsey County has held its property tax levy flat during the pandemic year of 2021. In 2022, it is poised to increase spending by 3.2 percent and its property tax levy by 1.55 percent in support of a total budget of $772.8 million.
 
Last year the county initially approved a budget of $763.1 million for 2021, but it reduced that to $747.5 million. For 2022, the county is planning to raise the property tax levy from $326 million to $331 million to bring the budget closer to where it would have been without last year’s decrease. “Much has changed in the past two years,” said Ramsey County manager Ryan O’Connor. “But we as an organization have not wavered from the direction we’ve been on.”
 
The county’s proposed 2023 budget includes a property tax levy increase of 4.54 percent in support of a budget of $781.9 million—a 1.9 percent increase in spending over 2022.
 
The county will continue changing the way it does business through its year-old Transforming Systems Together initiative. Everything the county does is being viewed now through a lens of racial equity, to address a wide range of disparities faced by communities of color, O’Connor said.
The 2022 and 2023 budgets include about $20.2 million each in federal American Rescue Plan funds that were provided to local units of government to ease the burdens of the pandemic. The federal funds have been allocated to help the county maintain services without additional property tax increases, according to O’Connor. Examples of that include financial aid programs, housing cost assistance, continued criminal justice reforms and information technology improvements.
 
Of the county’s general government budget in 2022, about 42.8 percent, or $331 million, would be covered by property taxes. Federal, state and other intergovernmental revenues would cover 29.1 percent, or $225.2 million. Fees and other charges for services would pay for 19.9 percent, or $153.8 million. The remaining revenue would come from other sources. However, the county is not planning to rely on any reserve funds in 2022.
 
The county will continue changing the way it does business through its year-old Transforming Systems Together initiative. Everything the county does is being viewed now through a lens of racial equity, to address a wide range of disparities faced by communities of color, O’Connor said. The goal is to make sure everyone who needs county services has access to them, he added.
 
The county’s regional rail levy for 2022 is proposed at $29.6 million, a 7.4 percent increase over 2021. For 2023, the rail levy would increase another 3.1 percent to $30.5 million.
 
The county’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) is planning to impose a property tax levy for the first time in 2022, at $11.1 million, to help pay for affordable housing programs. The county’s HRA levy is scheduled to remain at that amount in the proposed budget for 2023.
 
For more information on the county’s budget for 2022-2023, consult the budget documents posted online at ramseycounty.us/budget.

— Jane McClure

COMMENTS TERMS OF SERVICE

The Villager welcomes comments from readers. Please include your full name and the neighborhood in which you live. Be respectful of others and stay on topic. We reserve the right to remove any comment we deem to be profane, rude, insulting or hateful. Comments will be reviewed before being published.