Greetings from Le Sueur County. On Sept. 28, the Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners adopted a preliminary 2022 levy of $25.09 million, compared to the 2021 levy of $23.48 million, which represents a $1.6 million, or 6.8%, increase. In addition to increased employee salary and benefit costs, the main driver for potential budget increases are capital improvement costs.
It is the goal of the board to lower the levy at the final levy meeting in December. However, since the final levy cannot be set higher than the preliminary levy, the board wanted to provide enough budget flexibility for potential known and unknown variables between now and December. Key known variables include salary and health insurance costs, union contract negotiations, capital improvement projects, and availability of reserves and one-time federal monies.
Understanding the process
Calculating property taxes can be a complex and sometimes confusing process. One of the most confusing aspects is that your property tax change may not match the amount of the levy increase.
In other words, if the county levy increases by 5%, that does not mean your property taxes will rise by exactly 5%. The impact of the levy may be more or less, depending on your property’s taxable market value, classification and tax rate applied to the parcel. Property taxes also fluctuate due to payments to other taxing jurisdictions, such as cities and school districts.
The county determines the tax due for each property using this basic formula:
• Taxable Market Value X Class Rate = Net Tax Capacity
• Tax Capacity X Local Tax Rates = Base Tax
• Base Tax — Credits + Referendum Levy and State General Tax = Property Tax Due
Tax rate calculation
The county tax rate is calculated by dividing the total property tax revenue needed by the total tax capacity. This figure is set around January after the Assessor’s Office completes their statistical review of property values.
For sake of reference, the Le Sueur County local tax rates have been 53.257, 53.793, 54.977 and 55.428 since 2018.