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Crosslake City Council approves 2023 tax levy that shows 8.25% increase

One council member votes against budget approval, saying it could be further reduced to help taxpayers

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CROSSLAKE — After hearing from several people on various topics related to the proposed tax levy, the Crosslake City Council on Monday, Dec. 12, approved the general revenue tax levy for 2023, which is higher than this year’s number, and the 2023 budget.

The total levy for 2023 is $4,835,459, which is $368,347 higher than this year’s levy (8.25% increase).

That number is $45,970 lower than the preliminary levy the council adopted in September.

City administrator says there is no wiggle room

All council members voted to approve the tax levy; council member Marcia Seibert-Volz cast the sole vote against the budget.

Seibert-Volz said she wanted to further reduce the budget to help the people who have been hit hard by property value increases and loss of homestead status.

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Council member Aaron Herzog asked what could be taken out of the budget to help people in a meaningful way, not just saving them a few dollars.

“There’s no room in there to reduce it enough to actually help the people who have been hit this hard,” he said.

Seibert-Volz maintained there were unneeded items in the budget.

“I think you’re putting off the inevitable,” Herzog said, noting the council would have to drop at least a million dollars off the budget, which would mean extreme cuts in staff and services.

Seibert-Volz argued against adding staff people and questioned the police department’s assigned balance. She said the council must be more careful on the budget and reduce it as much as possible.

After further discussion, council member John Andrews interrupted to ask the council to adopt the budget, which it did with Seibert-Volz opposed.

“We need to keep services in Crosslake,” Andrews said.

Number breakdown

The $4,835,459 general tax levy includes:

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  • General property tax levy: $3,535,240
  • 2023 sewer operating levy (new): $87,050.
  • Economic Development Authority: $18,100.  
  • Existing debt levy: $893,163, including:

    • General obligation refunding bonds 2012A: $222,100. This includes the $221,000 levy for the original construction of the sewer plant/system and the $122,456 levy for the original construction of the joint maintenance facility.
    • General obligation sewer revenue improvement bonds 2017A: $118,713. This was used for improvements to the sewer plant.
    • General obligation reconstruction bonds 2018A: $102,025. This was used to reconstruct Manhattan Point Boulevard.
    • General obligation capital improvement plan bonds 2019A: $308,680. This was used for construction of the new city hall and police facility.
    • General obligation equipment certificates Series 2021A: $141,645. This is for the fire truck purchase last year.
  • New debt issued in 2022: $301,906, including:

    • General obligation equipment certificates Series 2022A: $125,768. This is for fire truck equipment certificates.
    • General obligation special assessment bonds 2022A roads: $40,999. This is for the 2022 road project to improve Wild Wind Ranch Drive, Rushmoor Boulevard and Rushmoor Trail, and Birch Narrows Road.
    • General obligation sewer bonds 2022A: $135,139. This is for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant (clarifiers) and the County State Aid Highway 66 sewer extension project.

The council held six budget workshops before Monday. City Administrator Mike Lyonais said he was happy with the public turnout Monday.
The increase is partly the result of a change in debt service after the city issued a new set of bonds for road projects, a fire apparatus and sewer improvements.

Operations/capital outlay is up 4.42% - about half of inflation this year - and 3.83% is new debt service that the city must levy for, Lyonais said.

“We don't have a lot of wiggle room,” Lyonais said.

Andrews participated in the meeting online via Zoom from Houston, Texas.

Find recordings of Crosslake City Council meetings on the city's YouTube channel.

Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com . Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.

Related Topics: CROSSLAKE CITY COUNCILCROSSLAKEGOVERNMENT AND POLITICSTAXES
Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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