12/6/2019 12:28:00 PM Chisago City tax rate dips for 2020
Chisago City will decrease its tax rate by two percent in 2020 based on the final levy and budget approved by the city council Nov. 26. Council members voted unanimously to approve a final levy of $2,776,808 for the city as a whole with an additional sewer plant levy of $45,000 applied to the older portion of the city that doesn’t have individual septic systems.
During the public hearing prior to the vote, two property owners came forward to express dismay with their property values and real estate taxes as seen on tax statements recently received in the mail. One resident who had recently remodeled a home in Chisago City said that both the appraised value of his property and the tax rate were shocking. “The cost of living here is two percent higher than the national average, and Chisago County has a sales tax,” he claimed. “This is not a metro county, and we’re just applying taxes upon taxes. I really don’t know what I’m paying for.”
Tom Hoffman, who built a new home on Old Towne Road, also spoke, saying he was “floored” by his real estate taxes. “For us, it’s been a shocking experience,” he said. He also asked for an explanation of how the taxes are determined.
City Administrator John Pechman explained that Chisago County assesses the valuation of property within the city and provides that total number to the city. The city then uses that number to help determine its budget and resulting tax levy.
The total estimated market value of property in Chisago City in 2018 was $616,151, 600. Pechman explained that this past year there was a 5.4 percent increase in property values in the city, and a two percent decrease in the rate. He said that Chisago City had been averaging 40 to 50 new homes a year for the past five years but this was slowing down.
The mayor and council reminded the property owners that the city’s levy represents only a portion of their total real estate taxes, which include levies by Chisago County and the school district as well.
Pechman advised that they watch their mail in early 2020 for notices from Chisago County regarding the proper time to challenge property value. He also advised that they ask the assessor’s office to come out and get a look at their property prior to the deadline for contesting those values.
In other business: - At the request of Councilman Craig Meyer, the council set a workshop meeting to discuss access roads and other details related to the pending improvement to Highway 8 as it enters the city from the west. A special workshop session will follow an abbreviated Dec. 10 council meeting.
- The council voted unanimously to approve a revised rubbish removal ordinance that allows rubbish hauling licenses to be issued for a term of five years starting Jan. 1, 2020, “and can be extended an additional five year term by the city.”
Per the ordinance, the city may issue exclusive licenses to up to two rubbish haulers for commercial properties and up to three exclusive licenses to haulers for residential properties in the city.
The council took the opportunity to extend its gratitude to the rubbish haulers present in the audience. “I want to compliment the haulers for the great job they’ve been doing,” said Mayor Bob Gustafson.
- Council approved: off-sale liquor and cigarette licenses for Chisago Warehouse and MGM liquors; off-sale liquor and cigarette licenses for Kwik Trip; on-sale, Sunday and off-sale liquor licenses for Scooter’s, Smitty’s and the Uncommon Loon Brewery; on-sale and Sunday liquor licenses for The Northern Lake Tavern & Grill, the Stone Inn and Don Julio’s; and cigarette licenses for: Schmidt Oil, Family Dollar, Casey’s and Lindstrom Vape. The police department report on license holders was predominantly positive. Routine compliance checks found two incidents of sale of cigarettes to minors in December 2018 at Kwik Trip and MGM Liquors.
- “Severely past due” water and sewer bills totaling $27,951.97 were certified to the county auditor for collection with real estate taxes payable in 2020. More than $3,000 of that amount was fees and penalties. Administrator Pechman explained that only bills with past due amounts greater than $300 or on which no payments have been made in the past year, are certified as a lien on real estate taxes.
- Mayor Gustafson said he appreciated receiving a letter from a Luck, Wisconsin address, saying how much they appreciated Chisago City’s recently upgraded Moberg Park, adding that many residents had also told the mayor how much they liked the park.