Brainerd Approves Preliminary 9.5% Levy Increase for 2023
The Brainerd City Council has made multiple changes to its budget. With the city also taking on a lawsuit settlement with former firefighters, the council has approved a preliminary levy increase for 2023.
The preliminary increase was set at just under $7 million, which is a roughly 9.5% increase from 2022. The final levy is scheduled to be set on Dec. 12 and could potentially still come down from 9.0%. The council voted mostly in favor of the increase on a 5-1 vote.
“[I] support it as a preliminary levy, because that’s where we are right now, but I would like – by the time we get to December, I think we can get this down under 4%,” said Gabe Johnson, Brainerd City Council Vice President. “There’s some changes that could be made.”
“I’m not comfortable supporting a levy increase that high just because I’m not – I don’t think that we’ve cut the budget enough,” added Mike O’Day, Brainerd City Council Member at Large. “I don’t think we just leave it at 9.54, I would be more comfortable around 8.”
According to Brainerd Finance Director Connie Hillman, a perfect budget balance would require a 5.5% levy increase.