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Work continues in Nisswa to lower the 2023 general revenue tax levy

After an October budget workshop, the consensus is to take requests for two employees out, lowering the proposed tax levy from a 19.11% increase to a 13.48% hike

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NISSWA — Nisswa City Hall likely will not have two full-time employees added in 2023 after the city council agreed it made more sense to save taxpayers money instead.

After a budget workshop Tuesday, Oct. 18, council consensus to save the proposed $80,000 for a full-time office manager for the police department and $77,000 for a full-time maintenance technician for the public works department would reduce a proposed general revenue tax levy for 2023 to a 13.48% increase over this year’s levy.

Council consensus was to target a 12% tax increase, so they’ll talk again in November about possible ways to further reduce the levy.

This consensus came after a three-member council voted in September to set a preliminary general revenue tax levy at $3,318,405 for 2023, which is $532,405 higher than this year’s levy for a 19.11% hike.

Mayor John Ryan and council members Mark Froehle and Jesse Zahn knew the council would lower that number, but they wanted input from fellow council members Don Jacobson and Mark Utzinger, who missed the September levy meeting.

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Ryan reiterated Oct. 18 that the request for two full-time employees would not be dropped forever, but would stay on the council’s radar.

“I don’t see us adding staff, though I understand the need and desire for it,” Ryan said, vowing to keep this item on the front burner, but not for 2023.

At the start of the meeting, Ryan said he hopes to keep a tax levy hike to between 9% and 9.5%. Froehle targeted no more than a 12.2% levy hike.

The council must approve its 2023 budget and tax levy in December.

Read more Nisswa City Council news
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Final levy and budget numbers are lower than what was approved in September and what is on proposed property tax statements
Council member attends final meeting after not seeking reelection
City council canvasses election results
Council members don't like it, but can't reach lower number
Froehle garners 18 more votes than third candidate Cameron Dorion
Mayor said he realizes people are feeling the pain of high prices, yet the city needs to operate and provide what residents want.

In a 25-minute regular meeting Oct. 18 that included routine business, the council:

  • Heard an annual report from Terry Wallin, manager of the Pickle Factory, the city’s municipal liquor establishment. The Pickle Factory raised $19,700 for the fire department in a fundraiser, the highest amount in the state.
  • Accepted a $575 donation from the Brainerd Kennel Club/Petrikat Fund for a K9 crate or drug scent training devices for the police department, and $100 from Cuyuna Regional Medical Center toward parks.
  • Approved the preliminary plat of Roy Ridge First Addition. Applicant is Glenn Oscarson and the Roy Ridge Homeowners Association. There is no proposed development or future building.
  • Appointed Sean Weldon, who owns Lake Latitude and The Fun Sisters in Nisswa, to the planning commission. His term will expire Jan. 31, 2025. There is still a vacancy on the commission.
  • Agreed to join the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, paying 25% of full dues in 2023, or $534.
  • Approved a proposal for audit services with Schlenner Wenner & Co. for 2022 for $17,600.
  • Approved a mediated settlement agreement between five individuals and the city and Pine Trail Homes Homeowners Association.
  • Briefly discussed Crow Wing County’s proposed short-term rental ordinance amendment. The city has not had many complaints regarding short-term rentals within city limits since the county ordinance was enacted in January 2021. The county has issued 33 short-term rental licenses within Nisswa city limits.
  • Learned the September police report included 203 calls for service, 20 agency assists, 19 emergency medical services calls, 108 traffic warnings, 10 traffic citations and eight arrests.
  • Approved two purchases for the police department using American Rescue Plan Act funds, instead of including the items on the 2023 budget: $23,351 for year one for the Axon Evidence Management System, and $8,200 for thermal imaging for two squads.

“It’s taxpayer money going back to taxpayers,” Zahn said.

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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