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Off the Editor’s Desk – 2-21-24

There is always a need for more money!

I quite often feel sorry for the people serving on elected boards that are trying to come up with the needed money to keep things together and fund improvements and funding the workforce to keep our governments working.

In Wisconsin there is a state law that limits the amount of money that a government identity can raise on the backs of property tax payers. I agree with that law, it allows the local government, like school boards, town boards, city council and the county boards to collect more than is allowed by law. The catch is that those boards must get the approval of the electoral in order to raise more from the property tax. That is where a referendum comes into play. You have the opportunity to approve the request or turn it down.

Take St. Croix County for example, they are asking voters to approve $900,000 over the amount allowed by state law every year, or to create a new maximum cap. It’s been billed at a cost of $5.00 per hundred thousand valuation, so its $25 more on my property tax bills. That’s not much, but the current tax bill showed an increase of some $670 on my office and home just for the Glenwood City Schools, who are also looking for funds for needed improvements.

A year ago, St. Croix County had a referendum question asking county voters for approval of $3.5 million to cover the cost of hiring several more employees, mostly for the public safety department. However, that referendum was defeated.

At this point in time, I don’t know if the City of Glenwood City is seeking more money for improvements, but over the past four years the city has expended a large amount of money on improvements including some $2.3 million dollars on the improvements at their waste water treatment facility, a million on a new well and $2.4 million on the new municipal building. The city was lucky enough to receive grant funds that helped finance those projects including a million on the municipal building.

The Village of Boyceville has needs for a couple major projects that they are facing including an estimated $7.2 million for improvements on their waste water treatment facility, five million for a new library and funding for addition to public utilities in the Anderson Hill’s sub-division, this on top of building a new fire station and purchasing a new fire engine, a cost that was shared with municipalities that receive service from the local fire department.

The Boyceville School District is seeking an $18 million Capitol project plan focused on safety and infrastructure concerns. This bonding issue is on the April election ballot. The school district has scheduled two informational meetings so the public can get informed about the project. One meeting is on March 7 and the other is on March 19.  The district is fortunate, as they will be retiring a old bonding issue, which will allow them to finance this project without raising property taxes. 

In Colfax, a drive has been underway for some time for funds to update the Colfax Municipal Village Hall. Included within the project is the installation to an elevator that would serve the basement, first and second floors of the 109-year-old structure that is made of local limestone.

In Elk Mound, it appears that there is a growing problem with the construction of several new apartment buildings in the Settlers Ridge area with the possibility of more housing units that would see an increase in village’s population. But there is a cost of improvements on the village’s public utilities with cost figures approaching a couple of million dollars.

So, my advice to all is that you get involved by finding out what is needed and required to finance those projects. That will allow you to make up your mind on how you will vote on the referendum question. Be informed. 

Thanks for reading!     ~Carlton

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