Winnebago sets early levy hike at 18 percent

WINNEBAGO — The Winnebago City Council on Tuesday approved a preliminary tax levy for 2018.

Chris Ziegler, city administrator, presented the draft 2018 city budget.

Currently, the 2018 levy is set for $682,447. This is a $97,103 increase from the 2017 tax levy of $585,344, which is a 17.84 percent change.

According to Ziegler, the preliminary levy started around 27 percent, but was then brought down.

Ziegler said that for every $10,000 that is reduced in the budget, about 1 percent is taken off the increase percentage. The goal, he said, is to get down to 5 percent by December.

The levy increase in the budget has been under 5 percent for the last few years, with 2017 at 3.55 percent, 2016 at 3.96 percent and 2.7 percent for 2015.

After a discussion, the council unanimously passed the 17.84 percent increase. The budget will continue to be worked on until December.

In other action Tuesday, the council:

o Accepted donations of $100 from the First Baptist Church to the Winnebago Swimming Pool for various expenses; $238 from the Friends to the Muir Library to the Muir Library fund for the Summer Reading Program; and $450 from the Ladies Brunch Pool to the Winnebago Swimming Pool for a new lifeguard chair.

o Approved a request of $216 for library director Heidi Schutt to attend the Minnesota Library Association’s annual conference.

o Approved a purchase of two Watch Guard 360 degree camera systems for the Winnebago Police Department for $13,000.

o Approved a wage increase for part-time police officers from $15.50 per hour to $16.50.

o Approved a $2,150 purchase to replace the bucket for the loader tractor for the street department.

o Approved the postponement of the closing date of city-owned duplex’s to Oct. 27.

o Approved the selling of a city-owned 2002 Ford Ambulance chassis.