ST. CLOUD -- Stearns County commissioners are considering a 2020 budget which is a mixed bag for property taxpayers.

County administration is proposing a spending increase of 2.97% which translates to a levy increase of 2.88%.

According to county figures, the levy increase compared to spending is offset somewhat due to a projected increase in the tax base of 5.15% which covers approximately 54% of the levy increase.

However, residential property taxes are expected to climb slightly under this proposal. County staff is suggesting most home valuations will go up in 2020. That would also lead to a reduction in the homestead tax credit as well, despite a small decrease in the tax rate.

For example, a home valued at $200,000 in 2019 with an estimated valuation increase in 2020 would lead to the county portion of the property taxes to go up by 4.76% or just over $44 next year.  If a home's valuation does not increase in 2020, the county portion of those property taxes would decrease slightly under the proposed budget.

The total proposed spending package is $165,500,806.  That would be an increase of $4,774,505 compared to 2019.

Commissioners will need to approve a preliminary budget at their next meeting in September.  A truth-in taxation hearing will be scheduled for early December.