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Nisswa taxpayers likely to see 12% hike in city taxes

Council members don't like it, but can't reach lower number

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Nisswa fall/winter 2022
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal
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NISSWA — Though they still aren’t happy with the 2023 general revenue tax levy number that will be presented for final adoption in December, Nisswa City Council members did approve a recommendation for a 12% increase.

I’m still uncomfortable with 12%. I’d rather have it lower.
Don Jacobson

That’s down from the preliminary levy showing a 19.11% increase, and last month’s consensus for a 13.48% increase.

“I’m still uncomfortable with 12%. I’d rather have it lower,” council member Don Jacobson said at the Tuesday, Nov. 15, regular meeting.

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Mayor said he realizes people are feeling the pain of high prices, yet the city needs to operate and provide what residents want.

Next year will be stressful for everyone with the economy, he said, admitting, though, that he didn’t know how to further reduce the proposed levy.

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Council member Jesse Zahn said he understands Jacobson, and he hopes council members can explain to residents the reasons for the levy increase.

I would like to see it lower, closer to 9%, but how do you do it?
John Ryan

Mayor John Ryan said the only way he could see to reduce the levy would be “to kick certain cans back down the road.”

For example, the council has been trying to budget $50,000 a year for unexpected projects the state and county initiate, and instead keeps setting aside half that amount, $25,000.

The 2023 budget stashes $50,000, and Ryan said the council could back away yet again and cut that amount in half.

However, “too low of increases catches up to you,” Ryan said.

“I would like to see it lower, closer to 9%, but how do you do it?” he asked, noting skyrocketing energy and electricity costs.

“How many times have we asked people in town, let us know what you think,” Ryan said, referring to council members not hearing from residents.

Jacobson said people don’t speak up until they see the numbers.

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City Administrator Jenny Max said staff was able to lower the budget by prepurchasing items that originally were in next year’s budget by using unspent money this year.

An 8.5% increase in the budget translates to a 12% increase in the tax levy.

The city’s truth in taxation meeting for residents to comment on the proposed 2023 budget and tax levy will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, before the regular council meeting.

The council traditionally adopts the final budget and levy at that December meeting.

Find recordings of Nisswa 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.

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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