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Proposed 2013 tax levy increase is in the works

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council will discuss a preliminary 2013 tax levy increase of 2 percent during its next meeting on Monday, City Administrator Craig Clark said Wednesday.

"When factoring in the revenue from new construction, that amount would translate to 1.59 percent for existing property owners," Clark said.

The final number will be approved in December, but Clark said the levy increase will not exceed 2 percent.

He said revenue from the levy will fund wage increases for city employees, as well as added fuel, health care and other infrastructure costs. The salary increase is to help with a higher cost-of-living rate, which was frozen in 2012, Clark said.

New construction in the area leads to a larger tax base to fund city services. The more the property value, the better total picture for taxpayers, Clark said.

The property tax value for Worthington rose .41 percent in 2012, which Clark said is a positive indicator of city growth, and "limits the impact on current property owners."

Tax increases have been kept to a minimum, Clark explained, despite sizeable cuts in state aid. In 2012, Worthington suffered "what would translate into a 20 percent levy increase if council were to increase taxes to replace the state aid," Clark said. "Instead, the city tax rate increased 4.3 percent.

"We have done this by being fiscally conservative and keeping costs in check," Clark added.

He explained the tax levy is based on several factors, including total property value, the amount of state aid received and total operating costs for the city.

The city will need to collect about $3.2 million in property tax revenue to help fund operating costs for 2013, Clark said.

The council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday inside the council chambers in City Hall.

Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.