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Paynesville Press - February 22, 2006

Paynesville Township looking at four percent levy increase for 2006

By Michael Jacobson

Paynesville Township could increase its levy for 2006 by four percent or more.

The board of supervisors reviewed a levy proposal at its meeting on Monday, Feb. 13. At that meeting, supervisors Don Pietsch and Pat Meagher called the levy proposal a minimum, though no formal action was taken on it.

The 2006 levy proposal will need to be approved by township voters at the annual meeting on Tuesday, March 13, starting at 8 p.m.

In 2005, the township levied $407,000 ($182,000 for roads and bridges; $170,000 for general revenue; $30,000 for snow removal; and $25,000 for fire protection). In 2006, the initial township levy proposal calls for a total levy of $423,500, an increase of $16,500 or 4.1 percent.

Levy chart This proposed levy for 2006 includes: $188,500 for roads and bridges (an increase of $6,500); $177,000 for general revenue (an increase of $7,000); $32,000 for snow removal (an increase of $2,000); and $26,000 for fire protection (an increase of $1,000).

The township (as of Dec. 31, 2005) has a balance of $323,000 in the road and bridge fund (including a CD); a balance of $60,000 in the revenue fund; and a balance of $77,000 in the snow fund (including a CD), while the fire fund had a deficit of $1,200.

Pietsch called these proposed levy increases a minimum, lest the township start falling behind in its fund balances. The township needs to keep its fund balances in the black, he said.

While the township could operate for less, it would not be wise, agreed Meagher.

One reason for the $7,000 increase in the revenue fund is a increase in the contract for police protection with the city, since a fifth officer is planned to be added in July 2006. That should mean a $3,000 increase to the township's share of the bill for 2006 and a $6,000 increase for 2007.

The road and bridge fund would increase by $6,500; the township adds roads each year, noted Pietsch. Snowplowing costs have risen with the higher fuel prices. Actual expenses for snowplowing in 2005 were $36,900. The proposed levy would rise from $30,000 to $32,000.

While actual expenses for fire protection for 2005 will not be known until the end of February, both the three-year and seven-year averages exceed $30,000 per year. The 2006 proposed fire levy is $26,000.

Township levies have a year delay as the township will not receive these funds until 2007.

The board agreed to have clerk Don Wiese check with the county auditor on the amount that the township tax base has grown in the past year, to compute how much the township could raise its levy before tax rates are actually raised.

The board will make a final decision on its levy proposal at its meeting on Monday, March 13, and then present this to the annual meeting on Tuesday, March 14.

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