News: Hennepin County administrator proposes zero percent levy increase in 2021 budget

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Hennepin County Minnesota


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

Hennepin County administrator proposes zero percent levy increase in 2021 budget

On Tuesday, Hennepin County Administrator David Hough proposed a 2021 budget of $2.2 billion to the Hennepin County Board. This is a total decrease of more than $300 million dollars from the proposed 2020 budget.

The operating portion of this budget totals $2 billion, a decrease of $45 million from the adjusted 2020 budget. The capital portion totals $187.9 million, a decrease of $274.2 million or 60% less than the adjusted 2020 amount.

The proposed net property tax levy is $869 million with no levy increase compared to last year. Property tax covers 35% of the overall county budget. Federal and state sources, fees and services, and other revenues fund the remainder of the budget.

“We have been planning since the pandemic hit to present a budget with a zero percent increase for 2021,” said Hennepin County Administrator David Hough. “As a county we’ve adapted, innovated and improved resident services in 2020, but we have a responsibility to closely manage our budget during these uncertain times.”

Hough’s proposed budget includes strategies like reducing positions, canceling leases, significantly decreasing the capital budget and using fund balance and contingency funds to fill gaps.

The budget does not account for an estimated $30-$45 million in potential costs associated with a continued response to COVID-19, including isolation and quarantine facilities and operations, testing, tracing and vaccinations and other response currently funded through federal CARES dollars.

“We are uncertain if additional state and federal aid will help us continue to fight this pandemic in Hennepin County,” said Hough. “We will need to continuously evaluate our situation and use available tools for the ongoing response efforts to COVID. 2020 will be remembered as a year of crisis, but the crisis will continue into 2021.”


Capital budget

One of the key drivers to keeping the property tax levy at zero percent is the 60% reduction in the 2021 capital budget. Some key items in the capital budget include:

  • $72 million in investment toward road, bridge and trail infrastructure
  • $7 million in environment and energy infrastructure
  • $12 million in investment for public safety and judiciary facilities and infrastructure
  • $44 million toward facilities supporting the Health and Human Services lines of business including the medical center, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center and the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office; and
  • $51 million toward our libraries and general office infrastructure

In 2020, the county completed its financial obligation to fund the Southwest Light Rail Transit Line construction project which is at nearly 20% completion.


Budget hearing schedule

View the schedule of public meetings at


Property values

Property tax valuations impact the property tax portion of the budget. The Hennepin County Assessor's Office assesses your property and estimates the value it would likely sell for on the open market, which is one factor used in determining your property tax. Other factors include property tax levies set by the school districts, city, county or special taxing districts that the property is in.

Find out more about property values.

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at

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