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|Paynesville Press - March 19, 2003 |
Townships approve 2003 levies
Township residents approved tax levies for 2003 at their respective annual meetings last week.|
In Paynesville Township, residents approved a $59,000 levy increase by a vote of 28-19, raising the township's annual levy from $331,000 to $390,000.
Three other area townships raised their tax levy for 2003. Eden Lake Township and Zion Township raised their levies by $10,000 apiece, and St. Martin Township by $1,500. Five townships maintained their tax levy for 2003, and only Irving Township reduced their tax levy.
The 2003 levy in Paynesville Township, as recommended by the board of supervisors, included these increases: $15,000 for the Koronis Civic Arena, $15,000 for snow removal, $15,000 for recreation, $5,000 for fire protection, $5,000 for roads and bridges, and $4,000 for police protection.
The largest increases were for the revenue fund, which was raised $34,000, from $126,000 to $160,000. This included the increases for the arena ($15,000), recreation ($15,000), and police protection ($4,000).
The arena increase was necessary to cover the costs of paying off the debt on the township-owned facility. In 2002, the township board used $121,000 from the road and bridge fund to pay off the township's debt on the arena. Of the increase for the arena, $10,000 will go to repaying the road and bridge fund. Over 15 years, this levy will repay the fund with nearly three percent interest. The other $5,000 will go to an escrow fund for future repairs at the arena.
The recreation increase will cover the township's committments to youth hockey ($5,000), summer recreation through Community Education ($5,000), and for parks, trails, and pool ($5,000).
The increase for police protection simply covers the increase cost to the township, since it contracts for police protection from the city.
The increases for snow removal ($15,000) and fire protection ($5,000) were deemed necessary to cover the township's costs. Over the past two years, the township has paid $35,500 for snow removal while it levied only $15,000 in 2002. The increase raises the snow levy to $30,000 for 2003.
In 2002, the township levied $20,000 for fire protection but spent $27,500. And the township only had two fire calls in 2002, which led to it paying a smaller share than possible. Over the past six years, the township's average cost for fire protection has been $28,503 per year. In 2003, the township will still levy only $25,000 for fire protection.
The township actually had a negative balance of $11,900 in its fire fund as of Dec. 31, 2002. Former supervisor John Atwood contested the levy increase at the annual meeting despite voting for it earlier when the township board approved it. At the annual meeting, he claimed that the increase was going solely to the trail project.
"I think we all agreed that this was pretty bare bones," supervisor Pat Meagher said at the township board's regular meeting the night before the annual meeting.
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