I.F. City Council approves tentative budget; levy rate is down, but property taxes expected to rise - East Idaho News

I.F. City Council approves tentative budget; levy rate is down, but property taxes expected to rise

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IDAHO FALLS — The city of Idaho Falls is expecting a tax levy decrease compared to last year, but Idaho Falls property taxes will likely rise, according to a meeting on Monday with city officials.

According to city officials, the levy rate is down by 21.3% from the previous year.

“The more you grow the base of your local economy, the more you bring that levy rate down,” Mayor Rebecca Casper said.

The levy rate calculation comes after the Idaho Falls City Council tentatively approved the fiscal 2022/2023 budget on July 28 during a City Council meeting. The tentative budget focuses on advancing the needs of a growing community and continuing to provide essential services for residents. The budget, which is more than $300 million, will be allocated among the city’s 11 departments.

According to a news release, the proposed budget includes revenue from new development, as well as a property tax increase of 3%.

Pam Alexander, municipal services director, explained to EastIdahoNews.com that the 3% is the maximum allowable tax increase the city can take on an annual basis. The 3% equals out to $1,234,457, which will be allocated to essential services like police, fire, streets and parks and recreation services.

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In the meeting Monday, city officials discussed the budget, property valuation, a tax levy analysis and how it will affect the community.

An almost $2 billion increase in property valuation — which will also increase property taxes — is expected.

“This year, property taxes have been on Idahoan’s minds for quite some time and so we knew that property taxes were going to be a concern. We wanted to do all we could to be sensitive to the environment that we are in,” Casper said.

A person’s property taxes are calculated by taking the assessed value of the owner’s property and multiplying it by the local taxing district’s levy rate.

“(The median home price) last year was around $350,000 and this year, it’s up to $424,000 for the medium home price in Idaho Falls,” said Mark Hagedorn, the city controller.

During the meeting, Hagedorn said the Bonneville County Assessor’s Office reported a general increase of 30% in property value.

“So a $250,000 home that went up to $350,000 has an increase in taxes by $250,” he said.

According to the city, some funding for the city’s budget comes from utility payments, fees and other government resources. $42.7 million, which is roughly 13% of the budget, is expected to come from property tax dollars.

The City Council will hold a public hearing for the budget this Thursday at the Idaho Falls City Council Chambers in the City Annex building at 680 Park Avenue. The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m.

“What you will see at our public hearing is the categories of each of the services of the departments that will be gaining a portion of the budget,” said Alexander. “This year, once again, as it’s been every year, our public safety and our parks programs or services get the larger piece of the general fund budget, which includes the property taxes.”

The council is set to consider the final budget on Aug. 25. After final approval, the budget will be submitted to Bonneville County officials for certification in early September.