The Faribault City Council tonight passed the 2021 budget and tax levies amounting to a 4.2 percent increase in the overall levy.  Council Member Elizabeth Cap cast the lone dissenting vote on each of the seven resolutions addressing the budget.  She never explained why.

City Finance Director Jeanne Day provided a presentation for the public hearing outlining the budgetary information.  Days said, "This increase does equate to a reduction of 1.11 in the tax rate and this would become the third consecutive year of tax rate reduction."

Day went over the tax impact on homeowners saying, "The tax levy and the estimated tax rate would impact an average market value home ($162,500 in Faribault) with a decrease of $8.26 if there was no change in the market value.  It would decrease a $200,000 valued home taxes by $10.67 and a $300,000 home by $17.10."

The City of Faribault total budget for 2021 is $18,411,969 with a levy of $10,162,266.

Day explained the General Fund is financed primarily by property taxes (48%) saying , "Public safety accounts for the largest portion of the budget followed by culture and recreation which now includes the library activities in that function.  Then public works at 15% followed by general government at 14%."

The increase includes a 3.25% COLA and the City is contributing more to employees health insurance.

One person spoke at the public hearing.  Adam Bjorklund told the council by ZOOM, "Property taxes are going up overall by 13.7%.  I know it's part Rice County, part city  (Faribault) and part (Faribault Public) School.  But everything should be as minimal as possible due to the circumstances with COVID.  We shouldn't be really improving or adding or building anything more."

Bjorklund emphasized, "I don't think we should be proposing to add anything more, increasing anything more other than basic maintenance for buildings and roadways."

At the conclusion of the meeting Mayor Kevin Voracek read a statement from the Council concerning a closed door review last week of City Administrator Tim Murray.

"Has part of the evaluation process the City Council evaluated Mr. Murray on productivity, cooperation, problem solving, leadership and several other areas.  The process reached the following conclusion.  Mr. Murray's performance is greatly exceeding expectations in all areas."

Voracek continued, "Goals, objectives and areas to focus on were given to Mr. Murray to work towards over the next year. As for Mr. Murray's employment agreement with the City of Faribault and by exceeding all expectations he will receive a one step increase in wages from grade 5 step 10 under the 2020 wage structure.  A lump sum merit increase of $1,000 and also receive 60 hours of administrative leave effective January 1, 2020."

The Mayor told Murray, "It has been a pleasure having you.  I don't want to say compared to our two previous two city administrators, but it's been a pleasure working with you over the years since you've came in.  It's been a breath of fresh air and especially in this year of the pandemic it's been great to have you at the helm and all the staff that you have compiled underneath you."


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