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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board has approved a budget of $1,193,126 for 2019, along with a local property tax levy of $500,000.
The local property tax levy of $500,000 is one of three options the village board could have used and is the same tax levy as was approved last year, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at the Colfax Village Board’s budget hearing and budget review meeting December 3.
The 2019 budget is $6,137 more than the 2018 budget of $1,186,989.
The other options included a property tax levy of $467,726, the minimum levy allowed, and $524,724, the maximum amount of property tax levy allowed.
The village does not want to be in the position of levying either the maximum or the minimum amount, Niggemann said.
If the lower amount were levied, then Colfax would start out on the revenue limit worksheet next year with a lower amount, resulting in a lower amount of revenue allowed under the state-imposed revenue limits, she said.
The village board approved a lower levy a few years back and then “paid for it” for a couple of years until the levy caught up to the revenue limits again, noted Mark Halpin, village trustee.
Colfax is in the position this year of having an equalized value, less the value of the Tax Increment Financing Districts, that is nearly $1.4 million less than last year.
The lower equalized value means the mill rate will increase.
A rule of thumb to remember is when the equalized value decreases, the mill rate increases, and when the equalized value increases, the mill rate decreases.
The village’s mill rate for the 2018 budget was $2.61 per $1,000 of property value, and the mill rate for the 2019 budget will be $2.73 per $1,000 of property.
In other words, based on the same property tax levy of $500,000, a house in Colfax valued at $100,000 paid $2,613.95 in village property taxes last year but will pay $2,732.81 this year in village property taxes.
Residents in the village also pay county property taxes, school district property taxes and Chippewa Valley Technical College property taxes. Each of the other taxing authorities asked for slightly less money this year, Niggemann said.
If the village board were to choose one of the other options with a lower property tax levy, certain items would have to be removed from the 2019 budget, such as $2,500 for a new computer in the clerk’s office; $8,000 in designated funds for a police squad vehicle; $10,000 to put toward street equipment; $35,000 for street projects; $1,200 for the library and $10,000 for parks, Niggemann said.
Here are some of the expenses from the 2019 budget and how they compare to last year and to four years ago:
• Colfax Village Board — $28,650 for 2019, compared to $27,700 in 2018, compared to $33,695 in 2014 [2019 is $5,000 less than four years ago].
• Administration — $175,600 for 2019, compared to $169,655 in 2018, compared to $128,313 in 2014 [2019 is $47,287 more than four years ago].
• Village hall — $11,600 for 2019, compared to $12,050 in 2018, compared to $8,610 in 2014 [2019 is $2,990 more than four years ago].
• Police — $202,000 for 2019, compared to $199,350 in 2018, compared to $206,594 in 2014 [2019 is $4,594 less than four years ago].
• Fire protection — $133,590 for 2019, compared to $134,260 in 2018, compared to $133,437 in 2014 [2019 is $153 more than four years ago].
• Rescue squad levy — $18,687 for 2019, compared to $18,340 in 2018, compared to $18,434 in 2014 [2019 is $253 more than four years ago].
• Street lighting — $20,000 for 2019, compared to $20,500 in 2018, compared to $34,500 in 2014 [2019 is $14,500 less than four years ago. Xcel Energy has installed LED street lights].
• Solid waste — $15,200 for 2019, compared to $14,726 in 2018, compared to $12,754 in 2014 [2019 is $2,446 more than four years ago].
• Recycling — $27,000 for 2019, compared to $24,500 in 2018, compared to $25,378 in 2014 [2019 is $1,622 more than four years ago].
• Library — $145,730 for 2019, compared to $134,480 in 2018, compared to $122,416 in 2014 [2019 is $23,314 more than four years ago. Dunn County provides more than half of the funding for the Colfax Public Library to account for county residents who use the Colfax library. Village residents will pay a property tax levy of $60,000 for the library].
Here are the other budgets that are separate from the Village of Colfax’s general budget:
• Colfax Rescue Squad — $464,189 for 2019, compared to $461,862 for 2018.
• Water utility — $270,950 for 2019, compared to $253,613 for 2018.
• Sewer utility — $184,750 for 2019, compared to $186,528 for 2018.
In addition to the $500,000 property tax levy for the village, Colfax will collect and distribute to the proper taxing authority county taxes of $352,290; school taxes of $414,580 and taxes for Chippewa Valley Technical College of $43,938.
The Colfax Village Board approved the 2019 budget and a separate motion for the tax levy on votes of six “yes” to one “no.”
Village President Gary Stene and Village Trustees Mark Halpin, Carey Davis, David Wolff, Anne Jenson and Margaret Burcham voted in favor.
Village Trustee Keith Burcham voted “no” on the motions.