- City Services
Putting our goals and values into a budget
Each year the City Council and staff work for more than six months to develop a proposed budget for the following year.
In December, the City Council must approve a budget authorizing the tax levy.
The City Council lays out its goals and priorities in its budget. The budget reflects the City Council’s commitment to the community to fund the city’s strategic plan and invest in people to carry out the plan.
Diversity, equity and inclusion
View the city's strategic plan
Just like a credit score for personal loans, a city bond rating provides lower interest rates when borrowing money for things like street reconstruction and remodeling of the fire station.
The City of Northfield is fortunate to have a “AA” bond rating from Standard and Poors based on factors such as our economy, debt load, financial performance, governance and management practices.
City taxes are about 39% of property taxes in Northfield. The remainder is made up of taxes from the county, 23% and school district, 36% and other 2%.
Property value * class rate = tax capacity
Property values are determined by the county assessor. The assessor determines the value based on the market activity from the previous year, the property’s condition and any major improvements.
Median value home
The property’s class is determined by its use - if its residential, commercial or another class. The property’s class rate is set by the State of Minnesota.
Growing the tax base
In Northfield, because a majority of the property is residential, homeowners bear more of the taxes compared to similar cities. The city is working to support growth of our existing and new businesses and industry to reduce the tax burden for existing residents and businesses.
Estimated market value in 2021 in Northfield
- Residential: $1.38 billion
- Apartments: $120 million
- Commercial: $196 million
- Industrial and other: $56 million
Questions on property valuation
Contact your county assessor if you have questions about your property value.
Dakota County Assessor's Office
Property tax levy
City expenses - all non-property tax revenue = city levy
The property tax levy is the total amount of the city budget less all other revenues. The City Council annually approves the levy amount.
This amount is then divided among all taxpayers in the community based on their property.
|Year||Tax levy (total dollars)|
All non-property tax revenue
- Intergovernmental (local government aid, State Police relief, State Fire relief)
- Charges for services (engineering fees, ice arena and pool revenue)
- Licenses and permits
- Other financing sources
- Fines, fees, forfeiture
- Other revenue and taxes
City levy items
- General fund
- City Facilities Fund
- Infrastructure Debt
- Housing & Redevelopment
- Economic Development
- Park Fund
- NCRC building and operations
- Police and Fire
- Vehicle and equipment replacement
Current tax rate
City levy / tax capacity = tax rate
The tax rate is the percent the levy has increased or decrease from the previous year. For 2023, the City Council adopted an 18.5% levy increase. The tax rate increased 4.6%.
Property tax refund
If you're a Minnesota homeowner or renter, you may qualify for a Property Tax Refund. The refund provides property tax relief depending on your income and property taxes.
This is through the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
Core city services
- Administrative services
- Business development
Culture & Recreation
- Parks, ice rink and pool
- FiftyNorth senior center
- Fire and Rescue
- Emergency management
- Building inspections
- Street repair and construction
- Snow plowing
- Drinking, storm and waste water
- Garbage, recycling and yard waste
- City buildings
General fund expenditures by category
- 66% personal services
- 25% charges for services
- 5% supplies
- 4% other
As a service-oriented agency, the city’s primary expenses are wages and benefits for the people to carry out the services.
Each year, the Council takes a look at construction, planning projects and large-equipment purchases. These investment items typically affect the budget for 5 to 10 years.
Northfield Liquor Store
The Northfield Liquor Store profits provide funding to the City that reduces the amount of tax levy needed for services. The new Northfield Liquor Store being planned will be self-funded without tax support.
Monthly City charges
Calculation is based on the median home value in Rice County of $292,000.
- Monthly utility fees: $75.75
- Monthly property tax: $147.11
With feedback from staff and the community, the council makes adjustments to services and projects that effect the budget.
The total levy is increasing 18.50%.
Library "oasis" staffing - increase 3 part-time staff to full-time.
0.50% Facilities Funding
Facilities funding increase to address projected shortfall in maintenance required.
0.50% Park Funding
Parks funding increase to address projected shortfall in maintenance required.
5.04% Public Safety
Fire and rescue (NAFRS); add full-time fire chief and increased training.
Police overtime based on historical trend.
Police succession planning; hiring anticipates 2024 retirements.
3.30% Other operating expense / inflation
Riverfront planning; partial federally funded
2.20% Debt Services
5.65% General Fund Personal Services
Staff wages and benefits; provides wages and benefits to keep staff at the mid-level of the market
- March - County mails property valuations
Initial budget development
- June - Past year's independent financial audit complete and presented to Council
- July - Council budget meeting
- August - Council budget meeting
Council reviews budgets
- September - Council adopts preliminary budget, maximum tax levy and next year’s utility rates
Council prioritizes services and adjusts budget
- October - Council budget meeting
- November - Council budget meeting
- November - County mails proposed taxes
- December - Presentation and public input; Council adopts final budget and levy
- March - County mails property tax statements (amount due)
Participating in the budgeting process
Community feedback is important in the budgeting process. There are several ways to get involved directly and indirectly in the budget process.
Comment at the budget and levy hearing
You may submit a comment or attend and comment at the public hearing on December 6, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. Contact the City Clerk’s office for details 507-645-3001.
Attend a City Council meeting
Over the six month budgeting process, you can make a comment during the public hearings portion of a City Council meeting.
Apply to a board or commission
City boards and commission often research, study, evaluate, advise and recommend action to the City Council.
Give feedback when asked
Over the year, the city will likely ask for input on services, priorities and projects. When you see these surveys, meetings and open houses, give your feedback and input.
Vote in city elections to choose candidates whose values and priories most closely reflect your own.
Paying your property taxes
Pay your property tax - Dakota County
Pay your property tax - Rice County
Questions and resources
Dakota County Assessor's Office
Property tax refund
Department of Revenue property tax refund
County budget and levy
Rice County Finance Department
Dakota County budget and financial reports