County Board Actions: Maximum property tax levy, Ridgedale Library renovation

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Contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969

County board actions

The County Board voted to approve the 2017 maximum property tax levy and move forward with the Ridgedale Library renovation.

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Board approves $759.4 million max tax levy for 2017

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve a $759.4 million maximum property tax levy. 

The board is required by state law to adopt a maximum property tax levy in September. The 2017 maximum property tax levy represents an increase of $32.6 million, or 4.49 percent from last year’s final levy. Last Tuesday, Hennepin County Administrator David Hough presented a proposed budget of $1.9 billion, a reduction of 2.57 percent from the 2016 budget. The board will vote on a final budget on Tuesday, December 13, 2016.

Top priorities

The 2017 budget reflects onetime and systemic changes with a goal of improving conditions for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, increasing innovation, providing services to residents in order to promote self-sufficiency, and demonstrating a commitment to solid fiscal priorities and responsibilities that are reflected by more than three decades of AAA bond ratings. 

The 2017 budget demonstrates a commitment by Hennepin County to strengthen up-front, strategies that will reduce reliance on government assistance, reduce costs. This work will improve our community for decades to come.  

Child Wellbeing, which gives children early access to mental health and chemical health services, in-home visits and education for their parents, to identify problems and provide early support

Hennepin Health, a holistic approach to health care for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, which includes not only preventive physical and behavioral health care, but connections to social services to help them access shelter and employment

Hennepin Housing Fund, a program to fund development and preservation of affordable housing for very low-income adults and families

Hennepin County Career Connections, a program to provide training and public- and private-sector career paths for people who face barriers to employment 

Transit and transportation, current and future initiatives to increase all residents’ mobility and access to good jobs and education

Adult detention Initiative, which provides alternatives to jail for low-risk offenders who do not need to be detained, but who may benefit from behavioral health services, or who could be supervised using a variety of detention and processing strategies  

“It just makes good sense to help residents become more self-sufficient and successful," said County Board Chair Jan Callison. “Our hope is that today’s investment will lead to a more prosperous future for everyone." 

Next steps

The property tax levy that the commissioners ultimately approve in December may be lower than the approved maximum, but it cannot exceed the maximum levy adopted at Tuesday’s meeting. In November, property owners will receive a notice that shows the impact of the county’s maximum levy on their properties, as well as the impact of taxes proposed by other local units of government, such as cities and school districts.

The property tax levy is the segment of the budget that is covered by property taxes. The balance of the county budget comes from state and federal aid, as well as from other revenue sources. 

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Housing and Redevelopment max levy approved at $8.45 million

Last Tuesday, the board also approved a maximum property tax levy of $8.45 million and proposed 2017 budget of $13.58 million for the county's Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The budget and levy will be discussed at the Truth-In-Taxation Hearing, Tuesday, November 29, at 6 p.m.  

Read more about the Housing and Redevelopment Authority maximum levy.

Ridgedale Library renovation moves forward

The board voted to approve a $21.4 million plan to refurbish Hennepin County Library-Ridgedale, in Minnetonka. The interior space of the library has not been updated since 1999, and many of the major building system components, such as air handlers, the chiller plant and electrical systems date from original construction in 1981. Community members were part of the planning process, and the renovation aims to improve access and efficiency for patrons and library staff. 

Read more about the plan to renovate Ridgedale Library.

Debit cards will ease reentry for people leaving detention centers

The County Board approved an agreement with Stored Value Cards to provide prepaid debit cards to people who are transitioning out of county detention facilities. Residents earn wages through their jobs or may have money left in their commissary accounts when they finish their sentences. Cutting checks (some less than a dollar) sometimes cost more than the checks were worth. Corrections officials have found that paper checks sometimes become damaged before they can be cashed, and people who do not have bank accounts or valid identification encounter barriers to redeeming them. In addition, the county incurs costs for issuance and printing, fraud prevention and lost check replacement. The cards will allow people to withdraw all of their funds without fees, if they complete the transaction within five days of their release.

Read more about the agreement with Stored Value Cards.

County programs garner national awards

Nine Hennepin County programs received recognition from the National Association of Counties. Areas earning NACo Achievement Awards range from environmental education to economic development, health, human services and more. Information Technology also received a nod from NACo and the Center for Digital Government for innovation in technology. 

Look at the full list of Minnesota winners and program descriptions

Upcoming budget hearings

The County Board will hold a series of budget hearings, which will continue until the final budget and levy are accepted in December. Unless otherwise noted, the hearings are held on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 South 6th Street, Minneapolis. Hearings and other important dates include: 

Public safety

Thursday, September 22, 2016, 1 – 4 p.m.


Monday, September 26, 2016, 1 – 4 p.m.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 9 a.m. – noon

Human Services and Public Health

Thursday, September 29, 2016, 1 – 4 p.m.

Public Works

Friday, September 30, 2016, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. 

Human Services and Public Health

Thursday, October 6, 2016, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (follow-up, if needed)

Capital Budgeting Task Force and fees

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 9 a.m. – noon

Truth-in-Taxation public meeting

Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 6 p.m. Participants can park for free after 5 p.m. in the Government Center ramp. Enter on 3rd Avenue.

Administrator amendments

Wednesday, December 7, 2016, during Budget and Capital Investment Committee meeting

Commissioner amendments

Monday, December 12, 2016, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

County Board vote on 2017 budget and levy

Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 1:30 p.m.

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