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September 26, 2022

9/16/2022 1:22:00 PM
Wyoming City Council adding $466,000 to preliminary levy

Wyoming City Council was short one member when the preliminary levy for next year came up for a vote last week. The 2-2 vote on the proposed maximum levy at a 9.7 percent increase, meant the motion died. (Member Ohnstad was absent)  

Mayor Lisa Iverson immediately said she’d vote for the levy if somebody would bring it up again, just so the process timelines can be met.  And, the second vote was 3-1 with Council member Linda Nanko Yeager still opposed.  She has opposed early budgets nearly every year.  Nanko-Yeager said the increase is too high.

The city sets a maximum levy in the fall so the tax statements can be mailed out to all property owners in Chisago County. Statements are tax estimations based on these early maximum budgets.

Wyoming wants to budget extra for a Community Service Officer, and wages are increased three percent for 2023.  Insurance premiums are projected to be increasing by 8.5 percent.  (Staff and city split premiums 50-50.)

The street levy is being upped $100,000.  Fuel costs got an increase, and a seasonal parks employee is projected to be added. Total proposed being added to the levy is $466,000.

Cities hold taxation public hearings in December where citizens can have input before a final levy is adopted. Wyoming City holds its hearing December 6.

The mayor noted the tax rate is continuing to decline, and even at the maximum adopted the rate is estimated rate for next year at 40.2 percent, from 44.9 percent.

In other business, the water meter replacements project was awarded to Ferguson Waterworks for $443,905. Ferguson will contact water customers to set up access to remove old meters and install new ones. Citizens are asked to cooperate with the company representatives so the poorly functioning meters can be changed out.  It is estimated 1,131 units will be replaced.

Council member Dennis Schilling asked if monthly water bills could be issued under these new meters.  Staff said the reason Wyoming doesn’t do billing monthly,  is the expense of staff time and the mailing costs.  The system will remain quarterly in all likelihood.

In open forum a citizen complained about a piece of hate literature he found in a plastic baggies on his property.  Driveway cams and ring doorbell surveillance type devices recorded activity by suspects dropping the materials in the wee morning hours ( 4 a.m. to 6 a.m.) of Aug. 20.  

This resident requested council during open mic to adopt a resolution denouncing this activity to “send a clear message” that racists and hate speech won’t be tolerated.

Mayor Iverson questioned if the council could call a closed session to discuss the matter.  Advised that this was not covered under pending legal matters, which allow for closed sessions, the council briefly expressed their disdain for the materials distribution.

Public Safety Director Neil Bauer said many other communities have been peppered with the materials but the activity appears protected by Free Speech.

At most if a participant in the distribution could be identified, police could issue a misdemeanor citation.  He said he prefers to not give the disgusting messages any attention.  “It doesn’t represent our community,” he stated and said he doesn’t believe locals are involved at all.

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P.O. Box 748 Lindstrom, MN 55045

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