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Published December 07, 2010, 10:10 PM

EGF City Council Says New Budget Won't Affect Most Taxpayers

Despite Minnesota budget woes, the city of East Grand Forks approved its general budget Tuesday night. City leaders say early preparation helped make the process easier, and cheaper, for taxpayers.

Despite Minnesota budget woes, the city of East Grand Forks approved its general budget Tuesday night.

City leaders say early preparation helped make the process easier, and cheaper, for taxpayers.

"It's a good feeling getting to this point," said City Administrator Scott Huizenga, moments after the council unanimously passed the budget.

A point of passing a little more than $8 Million in a general budget for the city of East Grand Forks, despite troubled economic times for the state of Minnesota.

"We do know going in there's going to be a fairly large budget deficit for the legislature to tackle," said Huizenga.

$6.2 Billion being the latest number to come out.

The Minnesota Legislature does not start until January, and cities in Minnesota do not know how this deficit will affect local government aid, which makes up 30-percent of East Grand Forks' budget.

"We could still be talking about this number when the regular session of the legislature concludes in May. If there's a special session, we may not know by August or September," Huizenga said.

Still, the City Council approved a 4.4-percent levy increase.

As it stands, most tax payers will not see an increase in their property tax because the county has lowered property evaluations.

"You have to make sure you have enough to cover everything throughout the year, but you also don't want to raise taxes for the tax payer," said Mayor Lynn Strauss.

According to Strauss, the City Council spent a lot of time making sure tax payers were not forgotten. They have been making incremental cuts for the past three years to avoid a large increase.

"It's tough times. The economy isn't what it used to be. We have to do what we can to keep the budget down and provide services to the community," said Strauss.

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