Rochester, MN (KROC AM News)  –The Rochester City Council Monday approved a preliminary 2016 property tax levy increase of 8 percent over the current figure.

If adopted when the Council approves the 2016 budget in December, it would raise the levy by nearly $4.3 million to $57.8 million. It would also mark the highest percentage increase in the levy since 2006 when it rose 8.6 percent. The levy that year was $35.2 million.

The Council can lower the proposed levy before it approves the budget but it cannot be any higher.  Between now and December, the Council and staff will make decisions on department budgets and new positions. The Council is also showing interest in increasing the amount of money spent on street maintenance.

The Council Monday also gave final approval to a change in the current off sale liquor sales ordinance, which will take effect when the city publishes the notice.

Under the change, liquor stores and brewpubs will be allowed to sell alcohol from 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Council also tweaked the version that was acted on last week to allow brewpubs to sell beer through 10 p.m. on Sunday. The current ordinance requires Sunday sales to end at 8 p.m.

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