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City Council approves tax levy for 2024


The Council approved a tax levy of $7,645,000. This is a $210,000 increase over last year. The increase will provide additional funds for the City’s contingency account. Without the levy increase, the City’s contingency fund would drop to around $40,000. An increased contingency account keeps the city better prepared for emergencies and will also give the city a better bond rating, allowing for better interest rates. The increased levy will bring the contingency fund to around $250,000.


The mill rate will be 6.43, up from a year ago. The 2023 mill rate was 6.06, and in 2022 it was 6.31. From 2015 to 2021, the mill rate was between 7.0 and 8.0. The increase property owners will see on a $200,000 home will be $74.


The Council approved a motion directing Cedar Corporation to redesign and rebid the Wakanda Water Park Pool Improvement Project. In November of 2022, the Council approved Phase 1 of Wakanda Waterpark Pool Improvements, which includes upgrading the pool filter system. Only one bid was received for the initial design, which required an addition to the pump house, and it was $1.3 million higher than the estimated cost. Cedar Corporation is recommending a different filter system that will fit into the existing building, thus saving that cost. It is estimated that the cost will still be higher than the original estimated (budgeted) cost of $1.6 million. City staff are recommending that ARPA (American Rescue Plan Acto) funds be used to make up the difference.


In other business:

  • The Council accepted a bid from Bartingale Mechanical for $219,050 for Phase III HVAC temperature controls energy efficiency upgrades. The City received a grant in the amount of $141,025 for this project. The City’s share of this project will be $83,495, which includes in-kind staff time expenses.


  • The Council approved a resolution extending TID (Tax Increment District) 12 for 5 months. State law requires termination of a TID after all project costs have been paid but does allow an extension of a TID for up to one year. The last year of tax must be used to improve the City’s housing stock. Seventy-five percent of the final increment collected will be used for affordable housing.


  • The Council approved the Level B Hazardous Materials Response Agreement between the City of Menomonie and Dunn County to provide hazardous materials response from January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2027. Level B Hazardous Materials are known chemicals. The Menomonie Fire Department provides hazardous material response for all of Dunn County and Pepin County. The County is required to designate a Level B team. (Level A Hazardous Materials are unknown chemicals and are handled by the Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire Fire Departments).


  • The Council approved a rate increase for Wakanda Waterpark punch cards for the 2024 season. The punch card rate was not changed when other park entrance fees were updated. The 11-round punch cards will increase from $45 to $50, and the 25-round punch cards will increase from $87 to $110.


  • The Council approved the Business Improvement District (Downtown Menomonie, Inc.) operating Plan for 2024.


  • The Council approved the appointment of Becca Schoenborn, the new Executive Director of Downtown Menomonie, Inc., to the Parking Commission.


Mayor’s Report:


The Winter Daze parade is coming up on December 7th. The lights at Wolske Bay will be up soon, and prep work is being done on area skating rinks. The ribbon cutting at the Rassbach Museum’s Solar Victory Garden was well attended.


Other communications:


Administrator Atkinson stated that utility and other budgets will be discussed at the next meeting. Reviewing the City’s liability insurance and financial software programs will also be discussed at upcoming meetings.


Public Works Director David Schofield reports that Estover Terrace is on track for its expected completion date.

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