County Board approves 2020 property tax levy

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 Administration • 100 North Fifth Avenue West, Room 202 • Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 726-2450 •

Kevin Z. Gray
County Administrator



September 24, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

218-725-5049 (office) • 218-591-2219 (cell)


St. Louis County Board approves 2020 property tax levy

The St. Louis County Board has approved the maximum property tax levy for 2020 at $145.56 million. This is a 6.45% increase over the current year. The impact on property owners is expected to be less than 3%, however, thanks to continuing growth in the county's property tax base. For the owner of a $200,000 home, the increase will  equal approximately $3.47 per month.


Factoring into the levy discussion are:

  • An increased investment in Public Works equipment, as well as adjustments for higher  material costs for salt, aggregate and dust control solutions. These are needed expenses that cannot be funded by transportation sales tax revenue.
  • Maintaining investment in public safety and human services, including programs that address substance use and mental health, and services for vulnerable adults and children.
  • Increased health care costs and wages for staff.
  • Various areas of increased costs or decreased revenues, such as a decrease in minerals royalties, increased investment in the Depot and general inflationary pressures.

"Any time we increase the levy, it's a difficult decision because we know it affects our residents and businesses, said Commissioner Beth Olson, chair of the Board's Finance Committee. "But an increase is necessary to deliver the services our citizens need and deserve. These investments align with the county's strategic priorities and with the priorities expressed by our residents in a survey conducted earlier this year.


"Commissioners and Department heads made some tough decisions to get the levy to this point, and I'm proud of their efforts," Olson added. "I also want to thank our legislative delegation that worked hard to increase County Program Aid and other supports we receive from the state." 


Minnesota counties are required by law to set their maximum property tax levy - that portion of the budget collected through property taxes - by the end of September. As the Board and staff work to finalize the 2020 budget over the next few months, the levy amount may be reduced, but it cannot increase. Commissioners will vote on the final capital and operating budget on December 17.


Two meetings have been set to collect public input on the levy and budget. They will be on December 3 at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia, and on December 5 at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth. Both meetings will start at 7 p.m. Citizens also are welcome to provide input at any County Board meeting, or by contacting commissioners directly. Contact information can be found at

levy graphic