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By One Vote, LFP Council Approves 2 Percent Property Tax Levy

Tax increase will cost owner of median-priced home in LFP about $15 more a year

The Lake Forest Park City Council voted 4-3 Monday night to approve a 2 percent property tax levy for 2013.

The move will raise taxes about $15 on a median-priced home of $328,000, according to city finance director Steve Nolen.

During a public hearing, 15 citizens got up to speak, with about nine in favor of the property tax increase and six against. 

Councilmembers Don Fiene, Sandy Koppenol, Bob Lee and Catherine Stanford voted to take the 2 percent hike, banked capacity which is allowed under state law since the Council did not take the 1 percent levy the last two years. 

Fiene said it was important to take the 2 percent because of substantial cuts to the budget in recent years, "that greatly concern me."

Councilmembers John Wright and Jeff Johnson supported a 1 percent increase recommended in Mayor Mary Jane Goss' budget but did not support the 2 percent increase and voted against it. Councilmember Tom French said he believed there is "homework left to be done," on the budget and did not support any increases.

Goss said while she supported the 1 percent levy, she was not happy the Council voted to take the banked capacity and voted for a 2 percent increase.

The move adds about $58,312 to city coffers for 2013. 

The Council also unanimously voted to approve a 6 percent increase in the city's surface water utility fee. The fee to the owner of a single-family home per year will be $161.19 in 2013, an increase of $9.12.

City staff said the increase was necessary to retain the current level of surface water management services, comply with unfunded federal regulations and to repair and improvement the city's surface water management systems, fixing culverts and aging infrastructure and to prevent flooding.

The Council also unanimously adopted a resolution to establish its fee schedule for 2013 and extend the Comcast Cable franchise agreement.

The Council, voted unanimously to agree to vote on the 2013-14 biennial budget at its Dec. 13 meeting.

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