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W’bago to lose some tax revenue

Change in interpretation of Minnesota statute given as reason

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Mar 14, 2021

Winnebago City Council members learned they will be losing a part of the city’s property tax base beginning with taxes payable in 2022.

The news came at the end of their meeting on Tuesday, March 9, when city administrator Jacob Skluzacek shared a letter he had just received from the offices of the Faribault County auditor/treasurer and assessor.

The letter stated a recent change in the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s interpretation of a Minnesota statute was the reason for the modification, which has to do with taxation relating to electric distribution lines.

“According to the figures I received from the county, we could lose tax revenue in the amount of $29,741,” Skluzacek said. “I will keep the council informed as I learn more about the situation.”

Earlier in the meeting the council gave its blessing to the LOVE Winnebago project.

“A preliminary date of June 5 has been set for the event,” Skluzacek commented.

Documents explained the Love Winnebago event is a day set aside for volunteers to help people living in the city who might need help with painting, yard cleanup, chain sawing, lawn mowing or basic construction.

“Jim and Merodee Grannis are heading a steering committee which is organizing the event and will review project applications,” Skluzacek mentioned.

Matt Cole of Bolton & Menk was on hand at the meeting to update council members on the Northwest project.

“There is not much going on right now,” Cole said. “We are waiting for spring to do a walk-through and determine what needs to be done before Holtmeier Construction comes back in to complete the project.”

Cole also discussed repairs which are needed on sewer pipes around town.

“They need to be repaired to prevent further deterioration,” Cole commented.

The council considered four bids before selecting the lowest bid, which was from Hydro-Klean,out of Mankato, in the amount of $168,965.

Members of the council voted to see if the project could be financed through a Minnesota Rural Water Association loan. If not, the council authorized Skluzacek to work with Northland Securities.

Council members also voted to purchase two tax-forfeited properties, located in the city, from Faribault County. The request now goes before the County Board for final approval.

Skluzacek announced Carol Weerts has decided to step down from her position as pool manager. He said the search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In other business:

• The council approved donating $500 to the Blue Earth Area Post Prom Party. The money will come out of the 10 percent gambling fund.

• Approval was given for the revised Winnebago welcome packet.

• A decision was made to hold off on the purchase of new holiday lights for the city and try and budget for it next year.