Alexandria taxes will drop a little for many

Out of 22 non-metro, similar-sized cities in the state, Alexandria has the second lowest property taxes, according to the latest data from 2019.

The Alexandria City Council test out new camera and sound system and video screens at Monday's meeting that show meeting attendees on Zoom. A grant through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, paid for the new system. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)

Most property owners in Alexandria will get a little relief when they pay their taxes next year.

Here’s an example: If the property values on a $160,000 home – the average home value in the city – stay the same, the city’s portion of the tax bill in 2021 will be about $625 or $21 less than this year’s amount of $646.

Taxes on commercial property will also drop – from $2,121 on property valued at $300,000 to $2,051, a $70 decrease.

The figures were presented Monday during the Alexandria City Council’s truth-in-taxation hearing.

The council approved a final budget and tax levy increase for 2021 of 1.08%, which is identical to the preliminary levy that was approved on Sept. 28.


It’s the smallest increase in at least a decade, according to City Administrator Marty Schultz. He explained that even though the city’s overall levy is slightly increasing, property taxes are expected to drop because the city’s tax base continues to grow and property values are on the rise.

Even during COVID-19, businesses continued to expand and new homes were built, Schultz noted. The city’s building department expects the year’s new construction to top $75 million by the end of the year – significantly higher than 2019’s $55.2 million and 2018’s $60 million.

The 2021 levy will bump up to $7,381,920 – $78,911 more than this year’s levy.

Out of 22 non-metro, similar-sized cities in the state, Alexandria has the second lowest property taxes, according to the latest data from 2019, Schultz said.

Alexandria 2021 levy is also the lowest among all of the 22 cities’ preliminary levies, which averaged 4.4% – four times Alexandria’s levy of 1.08%.

Alexandria’s portion of the property tax bill amounts to about a third of the total bill taxpayers pay. There are also county, school and other levies.

Schultz presented a detailed summary of city departments, budgets and how property dollars are spent. The information is on the city’s website.

Before approving the 2021 levy and budget, the council held a public hearing but no one from the public spoke.


The city’s general fund budget will increase by $71,523, from $9,920,078 to $9,991,601.

As in past years, the police department is the biggest expense in the budget, amounting to $3,417,225, a decrease of $33,561 from this year’s budget.

Other budget categories include (this year’s amounts are in parenthesis):

General government (administration, assessor, legal, human resources, mayor and city council, elections, community development, planning commission, general government, insurance) – $2,536,292 ($2,558,408).

Streets – $1,402,282 ($1,335,807).

Parks – $728,265 ($770,334).

Runestone Community Center – $677,106 ($643,909).

Fire protection – $444,725 ($437,616).


Building department – $409,006 ($323,668). The budget was increased to reflect the city’s successful grant application for a building official training program. The two-year grant will provide $65,000 each year and the city will pay an estimated expense of $75,000.

Airport – $185,200 ($185,200).

Engineering – $95,000 ($85,000).

Recreation – $50,000 ($84,000).

Animal control – $23,000 ($22,100).

Senior Center – $15,000 ($15,000).

Emergency management – $8,500 ($8,250).

The 2021 budget also includes $2,897,292 to pay for capital projects, equipment funds and special levies. This brings the overall budget to $12,888,893 – a 1.3% increase from this year’s budget of $12,723,472.


On the revenue side, taxes are the biggest source of funding, totaling $7,381,920. Other revenue includes:

Intergovernmental, including local government aid from the state – $1,991,083.

Charges for city services – $1,052,415.

Payment-in-lieu of taxes (from ALP Utilities) – $1,010,000.

Licenses and permits – $490,175.

Franchise fees and delinquent taxes – $488,000.

Transfers (liquor store profits) – $255,000.

Other revenues – $128,300.


Fines and forfeits – $92,000.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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