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City of New Richmond 2017 Budget approved

New Richmond City Council aldermen unanimously approved the 2017 budget as presented at a hearing Monday, Dec. 5 — a budget that shows a 3.52 percent increase in the overall levy.

The total budget of $5,120,638 is a $174,108 increase over the 2016 budget of $4,946,530.

City Administrator Mike Darrow was appreciative of the efforts of staff in developing this year’s budget, saying, “This year was particularly focused on innovation and working as teams. So we’re really proud of the process. Folks took a lot of time to not only look at their departmental budgets, but the budgets of other departments as well. This all started with the budget bus tour … a lot of planning and a lot of meetings that involved a lot of folks. So I want to thank everyone for their time. There was a lot of time spent behind the scenes putting together ideas the council had, as well as the utility commission that helped to craft this budget.”

While the operating levy will see a decrease in 2017 of $117,643 (-3.96 percent), the debt service levy will be increased a hefty $268,476 (+17.52 percent) and the tax increment levy will also rise by $73,275 (+23.66 percent).

However, those increases are offset by a large decrease of $50,000 in the capital levy (-37.04 percent) to provide this coming year’s budget with an overall levy increase of 3.52 percent.

According to Rae Ann Ailts, the city’s finance director, the debt levy increase came about because of general obligation bonding the city is completing. In addition the capital levy is down by 37 percent even though the city has plans to complete reconfiguration of work space at the civic center, conduct work on the air conditioning unit at the civic center and purchase another police squad.

She also explained that the levy for the tax increment is up because of an increase in the equalized value within the city.

The approved 2017 budget will result in a mill rate of $8.37 per $1,000 of home value. This is a slight decrease from the 2015 and 2016 rates. In 2015, excluding the city’s tax incremental financing, the mill rate stood at $7.87 per $1,000 of home value.

When combined with the other taxing entities — the School District of New Richmond, WITC and St. Croix County — the overall mill rate for residents in the city of New Richmond will be at $22.85 per $1,000 of home value; that’s a decrease from the 2016 mill rate of $23.16.

Following the brief presentation by Darrow and Ailts, the budget hearing was closed and Alderman Mike Montello made a motion to accept the 2017 budget as presented.

The vote to approve was unanimous. Alderman Craig Kittel was not present for the vote.