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Let’s discuss affordable property taxes. In 2016 the City of Duluth General Fund was $80M. In 2022, it was $106M. A 25% increase. In 2016 the City property tax levy was $24.2M. In 2022, it was $43.6M. And that was after a proposed 9% property tax levy increase last fall. That’s a 56% increase in the city property tax levy over the past eight years. No Duluthian I know has seen a 56% increase in their wages over the same time period.
2024? Another proposed increase despite record state aid, and $58M in federal recovery dollars.
It seems like winter was forever ago, but if you’re like me you’re battling the start date of the winter heating season. It’s easy to forget our struggles with plowing last winter, but winter is coming. Soon. We need to discuss the condition of our streets last spring, this summer, and let’s be honest still this fall. Streets, utilities, and public safety are basic expectations that residents have from our City.
If nothing changes, nothing changes. So, let’s consider tangible steps the next Mayor and Administration can take to improve our failing streets.
In 2022 we saw a proposed 9% property tax increase – at the same time we were experiencing almost 9% inflation. The average income in Duluth is $34,000 and an average household income is $58,000. That is simply not affordable for most Duluth homeowners. The solution? Growing our commercial tax base. In Minnesota commercial property pays roughly ⅔ of the bill. So when it’s not growing, the rest of us pay more.
Roger Reinert has consistently defined housing as a need across ALL income levels. We have to grow our population. .05%, or 400 new residents, in the last decade is a failure. Not growing is stagnant, and stagnation leads to decline. But in order to grow our population we have to get serious about housing. Not 40 new homes, but 400. And across all income levels.
It’s reasonable for us to contribute via property taxes. Through them we buy things we could never purchase individually – a street system, a school system, fire and police services. But property taxes must be affordable, and they must be sustainable. Given the trend over the past eight years that is no longer the case for far too many Duluth homeowners – especially those on fixed incomes. Retired, elderly, disabled, veterans. And, if you’re a renter you may not be paying that 56% increase directly – but you’re seeing it in the sharp increase in your rents.
Roger Reinert believes that as Downtown Duluth is our community’s heart, we need a downtown that is vibrant and thriving. But first, we must address the reality of current challenges. Concerns about attractiveness, safety, and cleanliness. To get there, we need a multifaceted approach to address current issues.
Roger Reinert discusses the condition of the City of Duluth Streets. It seems like winter was forever ago, and it is easy to forget our struggles with plowing last winter. Then, what’s the condition of our streets in the spring, and let’s be honest this summer as well. Streets, utilities, and Public Safety are basic expectations that residents have from our city. So, let’s consider the tangible steps we can take to improve our city infrastructure.
Roger Reinert argues that we have to work hard to give Duluth a reputation as a great place to do business. There is a huge role commercial property plays in paying for core city services. In Minnesota, commercial property tax pays most of the bill, which is the way it’s structured. When we’re not doing a good job growing our commercial tax base, we see the burden shift to residential.
Roger Reinert has consistently defined the issue of housing as a need across ALL income levels in the city of Duluth, MN. “We have to grow our population. .05%, or 400 new residents, in the last decade is a failure. Not growing is stagnant, and stagnant leads to decline. But in order to grow our population, we have to get focused and serious about housing. Not 40 new homes, but 400. And across all income levels.