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City of Perham predicts 30% tax levy increase; presentation planned Sept. 28

While this prediction is preliminary, City Manager Jonathan Smith said, the tax levy could increase by 30%.

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City Manager Jonathan Smith presented a very preliminary tax levy increase at the Committee of the Whole meeting.
Perham Focus file photo
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PERHAM — Perham taxpayers could see a significant tax hike in 2023, as the city discussed at the Committee of the Whole meeting on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 31. The preliminary report estimates that the tax levy could increase up to 30.42%. City Manager Jonathan Smith emphasized that the report is extremely preliminary, based on estimates for changes to the 2023 city budget.

As of right now, this report is based on the following anticipated numbers: a 6% increase in the cost of living, a 15% increase in health insurance and a 9-12% increase in utilities and fuel costs. The city also plans to make a pay scale adjustment for the police department to keep wages competitive with other area departments. A $134,000 payment will also be made to the county for the Perham Health reimbursement.

Smith said that throughout the next few weeks, he and the city will work to lower this estimated increase as much as possible. Still waiting on more concrete numeric guidelines, the city will present the formal preliminary budget at the special council and committee meetings scheduled for 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at the Perham Council Chambers.

The following items were also discussed at the Aug. 31 meeting:

  • Construction on the pickleball courts is complete.
  • The Perham Area Community Center has placed a priority on completing construction on the second level. They hope this floor will be completed by the end of September or early October. The kids' Adventureland may be ready by the end of September.
  • The first phase of the 2022-23 street improvement project has about 2 ½ weeks left of underground work. Concrete work may start late in the first full week of September. The speed of the concrete work will determine the next project phase. If the work progresses slower than planned, the city may save the Pinewood portion for 2023 and opt to just do sewer replacement behind the In Their Own Words Veterans Museum instead for 2022.
Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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