When they open their bills in December, Menomonie residents should be happy to see they’ll be paying less to the city for property taxes.

At its Nov. 21 meeting, the city council unanimously approved a $4.7 million tax levy, resulting in a tax rate of $6.06 per thousand of valuation – down 24 cents from last year. A new mill rate of $18.74 reflects a 94-cent drop from 2021. On a $100,000 property, taxes will go down $94, double that for a property valued at $200,000.  

“Hopefully we can give the community a little Christmas present,” City Administrator Lowell Prange said. 

Property taxes will also decline for the School District of the Menomonie Area by 8.47 percent (89 cents/$1,000 over 2021) and even the rate for Chippewa Valley  Technical College will drop by a penny. Only Dunn County’s tax rate is projected to increase 3.02 percent, a hike of 18 cents/$1,000.

Prange explained that the closure of Menomonie’s Tax Incremental District 11 – which includes portions of Stout Technical & Business Park and the Industrial Park – added $80 million or more to the city’s tax roll for general-purpose funding. In addition to a 3 percent wage increase, nearly $200,000 will go into the contingency fund while still allowing the city to qualify for monies through the state’s Expenditure Restraint Program.

Noting that the windfall illustrates the benefits of TIDS, Mayor Randy Knaack said, “I am so pleased that [we] can continue our services, lower the mill rate, and lower the taxes for the citizens of Menomonie.” (An explanation of tax incremental funding is available from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s website: https://www.revenue.wi.gov/DOR%20Publications/tif-manual.pdf)

In other action, the council:

  • Approved an $18 million General Operating budget for 2023.
  • Approved the 2023 operating plan for Main Street of Menomonie. The council also OK’ed a requested increase of the city’s annual other agency financial assistance subsidy to the organization from $20,000 to $25,000 to help cover increased operational expenses and the cost of a new laptop that will provide new executive director Phil Lyons the ability to work remotely as needed.
  • Reviewed an analysis of repairs and other improvements to Wakanda Waterpark. The 25-year-old facility needs updates to the pool’s filtration system and equipment. Functional and safety deficiencies also need to be addressed. The 3-phase project is among those the council will consider when it discusses the 2023-24 Capital Improvements projects list in December.
  • Responded to a letter from the mayor to the board of the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts. Pointing out that the city has been a large financial supporter of the Mabel for many years, Knaack expressed concern about a recent bylaw change by the board to remove the voting rights exercised by its city council representative. The council approved a motion to support the mayor’s plan to withhold the city’s annual $60,000 subsidy until the council member’s voting rights are restored. Council member Lucas Chase is MTCA’s Director of Operations and abstained from voting on the motion.

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Barbara Lyon

Barbara Lyon, editor of The Dunn County News from 2005 until 2018, currently serves the area community as a citizen journalist.

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