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Colfax approves $19,200 assessor contract

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  The Colfax Village Board has approved a maintenance assessment agreement for 2014-2015 with Zempel Appraisal Service in the amount of $19,200.

The maintenance agreement represents a $50 per month increase, from $750 per month for the previous contract to $800 per month for the current contract, said Barbara Zempel at the Colfax Village Board’s October 28 meeting.

In 2007, a complete revaluation was done of property in the village to comply with state law to bring the valuation within ten percent of full market value, she said.

The village’s assessments were in compliance for 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, Zempel said.

The village’s assessments were out of compliance for 2011 and 2012, although the assessment may come back into compliance for 2013, she noted.

Zempel reported to the village board that she is caught up on completing the digital records for the village’s assessments.

State law requires the assessment records to be entered into a computer database. The law also requires assessors to enter photographs of the properties into the database and to make sketches using special sketching software, she said.

The village has 423 “improvements” that are part of the assessor’s records.

“Right now I have to figure out how long it will take to get 400 sketches into the computer,” Zempel said.

Zempel said she is the assessor for five municipalities and that she plans to split the cost of the sketching software among those municipalities.

Each municipality will pay about $100 for the sketching software, she said.

Zempel noted that she plans to start with the photographs.

Of the current photographs that are part of the assessment records, “some of them are pushing 30 years old,” she said.

Zempel currently has paper sketches of the properties that she has assessed and noted that she does not know why the assessors have to sketch the properties using computer software instead of scanning the sketches into the computer.

The maintenance assessment contract of $19,200 represents $9,600 for 2014 and $9,600 for 2015.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved the contract with Zempel Appraisal Service.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Approved an ordinance establishing one-street streets on First Avenue going east from Main Street to Pine Street and on Riverview Street going south from High Street to Oak Street. Although one-way street signs are in both locations, there was no ordinance declaring them as one-way streets. The village’s attorney did not prosecute a traffic violation for going the wrong way on a one-way street because the village did not have an ordinance, said Jackie Ponto, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.

• Approved a motion to donate $50 to support the Red Cedar Sounds Sweet Adeline Chorus. The Colfax Village Board donated $50 to the Red Cedar Sounds in 2011. The motion passed on a vote of four to three, with village trustees Beverly Schauer, Annie Schieber and Mike Buchner voting “no” on the motion, and Scott Gunnufson (village president) and village trustees Mark Halpin, Rick Johnson, and Susan Olson voting “yes” on the motion.

• Scheduled the budget meeting for November 6 at 6 p.m.

Following a closed session, the Colfax Village Board approved a motion to increase the wages for village employees as follows: Don Knutson (Colfax Rescue Squad director) by 23 cents per hour; Don Logslett (street supervisor) by 21 cents an hour; Rand Bates (director of public works) by 29 cents an hour.