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W’bago sets levy at 4.99 percent hike

Council also authorizes tax abatement for Everidge development

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Dec 13, 2020

Winnebago mayor Jeremiah Schutt, left, listens to city administrator Jacob Skluzacek, during Schutt’s last City Council meeting as mayor.

The Winnebago City Council held their last regulary scheduled meeting for 2020 on Tuesday, Dec. 8. It also marked the final meeting as mayor for Jeremiah Schutt and for councilman Rick Johnson. Both men chose not to seek another term for their respective positions.

There were two public hearings held during the meeting.

One of those was the Truth in Taxation meeting. City administrator Jacob Skluzacek presented an overview of the proposed 2021 budget which calls for a levy of $680,361.

“This represents a 4.99 percent increase over our 2020 levy,” Skluzacek explained. “In terms of dollars, the 2021 levy has an increase of $30,614.”

There were no questions from the public and the council proceeded to unanimously approve the 2021 proposed budget and levy.

“I want the public to know the council spent a great deal of time on this budget and worked hard to achieve these numbers,” Johnson said.

The other public hearing was held regarding a proposed tax abatement for Everidge, Inc.

Once again there was no public comment and the council passed the resolution which is designed to provide financial assistance to Everidge with development costs at their site on the north end of the city.

The total abatement paid by the city is not to exceed $40,000 and the abatement will be up to 15 years commencing with real estate taxes payable in 2023 and continue through 2037, inclusive.

Continuing with financial matters, the council received news the refinancing of the city’s 2012b General Obligation Improvement Bonds had been completed.

“The true interest rate on the new 2021A bonds is 1.32 percent,” Northland Securities representative Jessica Green told the council. “The total savings will be $39,759 over the next seven years.”

The council had approved the refinancing plan at their November meeting on the condition the savings were a minimum of $35,000.

Matt Cole, an engineer with Bolten and Menk, was at the meeting to update the council on the Northwest Street and Utility Improvement Project.

“We have a pay request for $23,013, payable to Holtmeier Construction. This covers the new signage, the final seeding and the relocation of the mail boxes,” Cole explained. “Next spring we will do a complete project walk-through and repair any damage we find, whether it is a broken curb or sunken asphalt. Then we will do the final lift which should be done over a two-day time period and should result in fewer cold seams.”

Council members thanked Cole for the excellent work done on the project and then voted to approve the pay request to Holtmeier Construction.

The council handled one more item related to the NW Project when they approved a deferred assessment request on behalf of Sharon Garver. The application will now be submitted to the county.

The council also approved cigarette and liquor licenses for city businesses contingent upon the necessary paperwork being completed and fees paid for calendar year 2021 by Dec. 31.

Those businesses are Schooter’s Bar and Grill for both an off-sale and on-sale liquor license; Casey’s General Store for cigarettes and the off-sale of 3.2 beer; Lucky Lanes for an on-sale 3.2 beer/wine combo with strong beer; Marketplace Foods for cigarettes; Steel Wheel, LLC for on-sale liquor, off-sale liquor and Sunday liquor; and Dollar General for cigarettes.

The council set the second Tuesday of each month as the regular meeting date except for August when the meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 9. All meetings are to be held at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

The council also:

• Reviewed committee assignments; final approval will be given after the first of the year.

• Designated the Winnebago Municipal Center as the polling place for the city of Winnebago for any elections which might take place in 2021.

• Appointed Maggie Hassing, Carolyn Nienhaus, Vickie Wiederhoft, Sara Murry, Amber Patten, Jessi Sturtz, Judi Hynes and Skluzacek as election judges for 2021.

• Approved a three percent cost of living pay increase for three non-union library assistants.

• Approved the hiring of Vincent Do as a part-time police officer.

As the meeting came to a close each of the returning council members took some time to thank Johnson and Schutt for their many years of service and guidance they have provided to the city of Winnebago.