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W’bago wants levy increase lowered to 3%

By Staff | Nov 15, 2015

Last month, Winnebago City Council members approved a proposed tax levy of 11.63 percent.

However, at their regular meeting last Tuesday, the council expressed their strong desire to have the number lowered significantly before the final levy is set in December.

“I would like to see us around the 3-percent range,”?council member Rick Johnson said.

The other council members agreed as they took some time during their meeting to briefly look over the budget again.

“That (a 3-percent increase) sounds better to me, but we obviously need to prepare and have funds in case anything comes up,”?council member Jean Anderson added.

City administrator Chris Ziegler has already been crunching numbers trying to reduce the proposed increase.

“I currently have the budget increase down to 10.32 percent,” ?Ziegler said.

He explained that he has reduced the capital equipment fund by $4,000 since the city purchased a new printer and server this year.

Ziegler added that he plans to tweak salaries and update the enterprise, water and sewer funds to get them in line with where they should be.

“It has been a couple of years since they have been adjusted to correctly reflect where they are,”?Ziegler explained.

The council found that for every $5,000 they are able to reduce the budget, the levy increase would be reduced by one percent.

Ziegler said he would continue to look into different areas they can cut back in to lower the increase before the next council meeting and Truth in Taxation hearing scheduled for Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.

In other business:?

The City Council renewed two fiscal agent agreements. The agreements were between the Winnebago Area Musical Players and the Veteran’s Memorial.

“I don’t anticipate any changes for next year,”?Ziegler said. “And, the agreements seem to be working very well and provide a lot of benefits to both parties.”

The special assessment roll for utility charges and lawn mowing for 2015 was presented to the City Council.

They approved the special assessments would include all outstanding charges for utility bills and properties which were mowed throughout the year.

“All the affected parties have been notified by mail several times,”?Ziegler explained. “Any unpaid charges on these accounts as of Nov. 30 will be assessed to the corresponding property tax accounts at the Faribault County Courthouse.”

The City Council approved a consumption and display permit for the Winnebago Grill.