BUDGET BREAKDOWN // A Journal series examining city finances // Part 4

Updated: August 10, 2011 - 3:42 pm

Minneapolis property taxes higher than most other Minnesota cities

Minneapolis residents pay high property taxes compared to other metro cities, but they’re not the highest taxed residents, based on a Journal review of tax rates from across the state.

The Journal compared 2011 tax bills for $200,000 homes in 14 metro municipalities as well as three Greater Minnesota cities.

The Journal also looked at property taxes from 2010, using the League of Minnesota Cities’ online property tax estimator. The LMC plans to update the database with 2011 figures, but had its process delayed because it was unable to get data from the state government while it was shut down.  

The owner of a $200,000 home in Minneapolis will pay $3,142 in property taxes in 2011. That’s far more than some Hennepin County neighbors, like Edina ($2,275), Plymouth ($2,315) and Orono ($1,860). But a Minneapolis tax bill is less than in Brooklyn Center, where a $200,000 homeowner will pay $3,340 in 2011.

In 2010, the most recent year of data collected by the LMC, only 15 of 142 metro municipalities had higher property taxes than Minneapolis.

Since that data was calculated, however, property taxes in Minneapolis have increased by 4.7 percent, though homeowners were hit harder. The owner of a $200,000 Minneapolis home in 2010 paid $2,725 in property taxes, compared to $3,142 in 2011.

How does Minneapolis stack up with other urban centers? Using 2011 data, the owner of a $200,000 home in Duluth will pay $2,262. In Rochester and Mankato, $200,000 homes have $2,429 and $2,158 tax bills, respectively.

While a Minneapolis homeowner will pay $3,142 this year, the owner of a $200,000 home in St. Paul will pay $2,777, or about $365 less.

Comparing property tax bills isn’t always an apples-to-apples evaluation.

Minneapolitans pay less, per capita, in special assessments than their neighbors across the river. According to 2009 data from the Minnesota State Auditor, residents here pay, on average, $54 a year in special assessments, while St. Paul residents pay $123. Those figures include special assessments paid by businesses.

In Hennepin County, property taxes generally get lower the further from Minneapolis. Inner-ring suburbs like Brooklyn Center and Richfield ($2,903) have higher property taxes than second-ring suburbs like Plymouth ($2,315) and Eden Prairie ($2,469).

Lower yet are the property taxes in the exurbs, such as Minnetrista, where the tax bill on a $200,000 home is just $1,901.

The Minneapolis Board of Estimation and Taxation has tentatively scheduled an Aug. 25 hearing on the city’s maximum potential property tax levy. The board will set that maximum on Sept. 13.

About this series

The Journal’s Budget Breakdown series is a project designed to help readers better understand how the City of Minneapolis’ budget works. The multi-installment series has looked at property taxes and spending from several different angles.

Mayor R.T. Rybak plans to release his budget recommendation for 2012 in September and the City Council will vote on a budget in December. The final installment of the series will come after Rybak releases his proposed budget.

The Journal welcomes questions from readers. If you have any questions about the budget and property taxes, send them to Nick Halter at nhalter@mnpubs.com. We also welcome your letters to the editor.