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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board has approved a tax levy of $468,000 on the 2020 budget of $1,200,239.
The $468,000 is the same number approved by the village board at the December 2 meeting, but the Colfax school district tax levy has been updated to the correct amount of $400,827, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at the Colfax Village Board’s December 11 meeting.
The number included in the spreadsheet for the school district at the December 2 budget hearing was $382,449, which was last year’s school district tax levy.
Niggemann said the previous year’s number had somehow inadvertently carried forward into the 2019 spreadsheet and she had not noticed that last year’s number had carried forward.
The mill rate Village of Colfax taxpayers pay will be $26.52 per $1,000 of property value.
In an effort to keep the property taxes the same, the village board shaved off $32,000 to compensate for a $37,000 increase in taxes from the school district and Dunn County, Niggemann said.
“We want to keep taxes lower,” said Scott Gunnufson, village president.
Gunnufson said he hoped the county, school district and Chippewa Valley Technical College were also working to keep the tax levy the same because, “we can’t keep shorting ourselves every year, either.”
How to decrease
There are several ways to decrease property taxes, Gunnufson said.
One way is for the village to have increased valuation, he said.
By “increased valuation,” Gunnufson is not referring to property values increasing for existing properties, but rather, for new houses and businesses to be built in Colfax.
The village can also increase fees for services, Gunnufson said.
Gunnufson did not elaborate on the services the village could start charging a fee for or services on which the village could increase fees.
The village also could start implementing special assessments for streets and sidewalks, Gunnufson said.
When a street is reconstructed, the cost of curb and gutter could be assessed to the individual homeowners instead of being placed in the budget and the cost being shared by all the taxpayers in Colfax.
The village also could decrease services to village residents, Gunnufson said.
Gunnufson also did not elaborate on the services that could be decreased.
“Getting people to build here would be wonderful, but our tax rates scare them away,” Niggemann said.
Included on the spreadsheet provided to village board members were examples of the property taxes village residents will be paying with a mill rate of $26.52 per $1,000 of property value.
The estimated property tax amounts include the village’s levy as well as the levies for Dunn County, the Colfax school district and CVTC.
A property valued at $80,000 will be paying estimated property taxes of $2,121 compared to last year’s taxes of $2,087, representing an increase of $34.
A $90,000 property will pay an estimated $2,386 in property taxes, compared to $2,348 for last year, representing an increase of $38.
A $100,000 property will pay an estimated $2,652 in property taxes, compared to $2,609 for last year, representing an increase of $43.
A $120,000 property will pay an estimated $3,182 in property taxes, compared to $3,130 last year, representing an increase of $52.
A $150,000 property will pay an estimated $3,978 in property taxes, compared to $3,913 last year, representing an increase of $65.
A $200,000 property will pay an estimated $5,304 in property taxes, compared to $5,218 last year, representing an increase of $86.
The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved the tax levy resolution.
Out of total levy of $468,000, general village operations account for $327,089 of the levy, while library operations account for $60,000 of the levy and debt service accounts for $80,911 of the levy.