WAITE PARK -- Waite Park has begun laying out the framework of their preliminary budget for next year.

During Tuesday's work session, the city council proposed an overall budget of roughly $9.3-million, which is a 7.8% increase over last year.

City Administrator Shaunna Johnson says the budget increases are a result of things such as salary increases, heavy equipment purchases and staffing, which includes adding three more police officers.

Johnson says there is some revenue to offset some of the budget increases, particularly as it relates to the COPS grant (which they were awarded this year to hire the officers) and the amphitheater (which will open in spring after being delayed by the pandemic this year).

While the city is proposing a budget increase, Waite Park's overall tax capacity rate will stay the same, if not slightly lower. However, Johnson says property owners may see an increase on their property taxes due to an increase in the valuations of their homes.

Once the preliminary budget is set it can only go down, it can't increase.

The city council will look to approve the 2021 preliminary budget, which is subject to change, by the end of September.

The final 2021 budget will need to be approved by the end of the year.

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