St. Louis County Board Lowers Property Taxes in 2016

Tax Levy to Hold Steady in 2016

The St. Louis County Board has voted to hold the maximum property tax levy flat for 2016 at $116.6 million, a 0 percent increase over last year.

This is doubly good news for tax payers, because in addition to no increase in the levy, the growth in the economy and tax base means the County-portion of the property tax statement should decrease for the majority of residents.

“This has been our vision to achieve and deliver a zero levy increase,” said Board Chair Pete Stauber. “I am so appreciative of the hard work of my fellow commissioners and staff for making it attainable. At the same time, I want to assure people that our services will not be affected. Our investment in roads and bridges, in public safety, in services to our most vulnerable citizens, is as strong as ever.”

The 2016 levy was achieved through good management of finances and long-term planning.

It includes continued investment in core services of public safety, transportation, and public health and human services, as well as many other services such as forestry and minerals management, veterans, public records and assessments, septic system design and permitting, and programs for youth.

“I commend the Board for their consistent direction this year,” said County Administrator Kevin Gray. “Commissioners recognized the need to hold the line on property taxes in light of the challenges faced by many who are supported by the mining industry, and respecting the impact of the Transportation Sales Tax on local residents and businesses.”

More information on the levy, along with video commentary by Commissioners, and the interactive budget explorer can be found online at

In St. Louis County, the levy – revenue collected from property taxes – makes up about one third of the budget.

Each year, in establishing a preliminary levy, the Board must find balance between its goals for the services it wishes to provide, and the tax impact on citizens based on the cost of providing those services.

Two meetings have been set to collect public input on the levy and budget.

They will be on December 3 at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia, and on December 10 at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth.

Both meetings will start at 7 p.m. Citizens are also welcome to provide input at any County Board meeting, or by contacting commissioners directly.

Contact information can be found at

By law, Minnesota counties must set their maximum preliminary levy – that portion of the budget collected through property taxes – by the end of September.

As the Board and staff work to finalize the 2016 budget over the next few months, the levy amount may be reduced, but it cannot increase.

Commissioners are set to vote on the final capital and operating budget on December 15.

St. Louis County serves more than 200,000 residents spread across 7,000 square miles.

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